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A young woman grows up to be a stone-cold assassin after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota. She works for her uncle as a hitman by day, but her personal time is spent engaging in vigilante murders that she hopes will lead her to her ultimate target - the mobster responsible for her parents' death. Written by
Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) is a hired gun who embarks on a quest for revenge despite the wishes of her mentor and assistant (Cliff Curtis). This means taking down the CIA informant who had her parents murdered before her eyes.
I've seen this before, you've seen this before. One of the writers, Luc Besson, even wrote and directed the two movies Colombiana most closely resembles. There are some new tricks in store, and the strictly business attitude is refreshing. Director Olivier Megaton takes a tale as old as storytelling itself and gives it vibrant colors as well as reasonable plausibility.
Zoe Saldana is a good lead despite minimal lines. That's not a bad thing as smart screenplays take advantage of the on screen action instead of blatantly relaying the information to the audience through sound. When Cataleya works her way into a ventilation shaft she doesn't have a guy in van putting words in her ear. Furthermore, Saldana slender frame is built for the action depicted. Seldom did it seem that trickery was needed to accomplish a leap. Cataleya isn't shown to be a Jackie Chan kungu fu acrobat capable of literally kicking the hindquarters of an entire team of guards then flipping into hidingshe plays with guns.
There's plenty in the way of loud noises and mischief, but a major flaw is pointed out by Cataleya's boyfriend Danny (Michael Vartan). He begs Cataleya for information about herself at just about the same time as the audience. There's a giant gap of 15 years time between Cataleya's arrival in America and her present day activities. Without any on-screen training the jump in the character feels undeserved, as do her relationships. Cataleya is simply already with Danny. The guys she's after are hardly worth mentioning since all parties are isolated. She doesn't even come face-to-face with one of her top targets.
Colombiana plays out like Leon: The Professional had Natalie Portman's character grown into a cleaner herself and her backstory was unoriginal. This shouldn't be a surprise as both films are written by Luc Besson, nor should it be a shock that the earlier film is far better in large part due to tension and bonding. The amount of action that must take place off camera to maintain the PG-13 of this very tonally serious film is heartbreaking. How can an audience share in the delight of revenge when we must look away?
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