August 30, 2011
I had no real idea what "Colombiana" was about until I watched it, just a vague idea it would be an action movie. From the opening scenes, the story establishes itself quite well already. This is because we have seen opening scenes like these from countless other movies of the same genre. Third world country: parents get killed in front of a child, child then grows up and exacts revenge on parents' killers. Familiar? Of course! From the title, we know the third-world country is Colombia. Main thing that is different here, the child is a girl.
The first major action sequence in this movie is an exciting chase through Colombian streets, markets and apartments featuring a young child Cataleya Restrepo and the heavily-armed killers of her parents. Because of the fantastic nature of this sequence, we are also primed to suspend our disbelief for the rest of this film, as we will witness the incredibly elaborate murders the adult Cataleya (played by the lithe and slinky Zoe Saldana) will be capable of executing to perfection all by herself. The film does not think it is important to tell us how she prepares for all these. No brains required when watching this film folks. Despite the R-13 rating in local cinemas, the violence and sex were still within acceptable limits.
I do have to comment how funny I thought the role-reversal was when involving the love interest. Michael Vartan (after playing much the same subservient role for several years on "Alias") is Cataleya's lover Danny. It is he who wants to talk about stuff before getting it on. It is he who contemplates on his sleeping lover and takes her picture. It is he who talks to his buddy in a diner about this mystery girl he likes. I have to say these parts are the comic-relief from the intense action scenes with super-human-like Cataleya. Lucky the role reversal did not have to include the shower scene. It was still Zoe who did that scene.
While we know this isn't exactly Oscar material, once in a while it is refreshing to watch a sexy female take on the roles we would usually associate with Steven Seagal or Jason Statham. Zoe Saldana was actually quite credible in her action scenes despite them being totally unrealistic. The three centerpiece murder scenes where Cataleya executes her parents' killers one by one were quite well-staged, and bad-ass Zoe looks like she could really do them all in.