ZOE SALDANA MICHAEL VARTAN CLIFF CURTIS

COLOMBIANA

So many revenge films seem to only get traction if they are lead by a beautiful woman; this is the case in Colombiana. Avatar's Zoe Saldana drives this action film with her tiny body frame in and out of the tightest predicaments. Much like Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill script, the lead character here is motivated by the murders of her family. Saldana moves like Angelina Jolie but has a far less arrogant demeanor in this role than say Tomb Raider or Salt. The Fifth Element director Luc Besson produced the film and co-wrote the screenplay; however, his usual creativity and imagination is nowhere to be found in this run of the mill suspense thriller.

After witnessing the death of her parents in Colombia at age 12, Cataleya (Saldana) gives up the ideals of fighting on the side of the good guys. Instead, she tells her uncle she wants to train to kill. After years of targeting victims and successfully proving herself as one of the best assassins no one has ever heard of, Cataleya's calling card is finally decoded and the two men who haunt her dreams finally start looking for her. Her own life has never concerned her, but the only two living people she cares about are now in danger. She will come face to face with her past to finally avenge what she has lost.

One of the first scenes in the film is when a young Cataleya vomits on an agent's desk to give him a chip she swallowed for safe keeping, she digs through the vomit for a laugh. Later, the 12 year old girl says "I want to be a killer". Colombiana is good for a mind numbing action movie where you turn your brain off; the less you think and analyze, the better things will appear. However, for me that's difficult, and I couldn't get past all the script's coincidences or ironies. Too many times things work out just in the nick of time, which made me begin to think Cataleya wasn't just skilled, but super powered.

The character is very specific to Saldana, as the script plays off her extremely fit, flat and small frame. She squeezes into situations, outfits and tiny vents that the screenwriters wrote in specifically for her, or altered the film after she came on board. One of the film's most ridiculous scenes is when Curtis's character forces the young girl to choose between killing and school, in which he causes public destruction with his weapon only to calmly walk away. However, the most absurd scene belongs to Saldana and the two toothbrushes she uses as weapons.

Final Thought – Plagued by nick of time coincidences and one sided characters.

Grade C

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Michael Woody




Dr. Donna Copeland’s

2nd OPINION

 This is a film produced primarily for entertainment, which it delivers.  When the movie begins, a young Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) gets instructions from her father about what to do if she is gets into serious trouble.  When that actually happens, it is clear that her parents have prepared her well for survival and for navigating her way through the world.  She is precocious—although I think not unbelievably so when I see nowadays how much children of that age know—and right off the bat she gives her interrogator his comeuppance.  Amandla, the actress who plays the younger Cataleya, is impressive in her steely glare and ability to portray emotions just under the surface as well as real tears.

 One of the uncanny parts of this production is the resemblance of the young actress to Zoe Soldana, who has the lead role as the adult Cataleya.  The most entertaining scenes in the film are those in which both the younger and the older actresses look like Catwoman in their speed, reflexes, and senses, and in the adult, the intricate planning necessary to successfully complete the jobs she gets.  

 As to be expected, such concentration to the exclusion of almost everything else, has personal consequences for Cataleya, such as cut-off emotions and the normal considerations in human relationships.  Soldana pulls this off with ease, and shows herself to continue to be an actress with a great deal of potential.  She is appealing physically as well as being likeable, and gives her audience satisfaction when she eliminates evildoers.  

 

The script does have some weak spots, and the scene toward the end of fighting without guns goes on way too long and is entirely implausible and unnecessary.  I did like the twist in plot where a man wanting to helpfully surprise his friend unwittingly does just the opposite.

 The best line in the film—most likely reveled in by all the women in the audience—is [the killer] “couldn’t be a woman!”