Aug 10, 2020

‘Colombiana’ combines action and suspense to create a perfect blend

‘Colombiana’ has the formula for the typical revenge movie. A woman seeks revenge on the criminals responsible for the death of her parents. But this movie shows enough potential to be different. There is action, but it is done with a unique style that successfully blends action and suspense.

The movie opens with young Cataleya (Amanda Stenberg) witnessing the death of her father, Fabio (Jesse Borrego) and mother, Alicia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). Both are killed at the orders of a Columbian crime lord, Don Luis (Beto Benito). Cataleya escapes to the United States and seeks out her uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis).

Cataleya wants to be a killer. Emilio agrees to train her, but insists she gets an education. He explains that anyone can pull a trigger. But if Cataleya is educated, she can think for herself, understand people, thus enabling her live longer.

Fast forward 15 years, and now Cataleya (Zoe Saldana as the adult Cataleya) is a ruthless assassin for hire. Emilio gives her assignments that has her executing criminals. Cataleya does these kills hoping she will attract the attention of Don Luis, thus enabling her to fullfill her mission of vengeance. At the same time, she falls for an artist, Danny Delanay (Michael Vartan). Cataleya hides her true self from Danny in order to protect herself and Danny.

Cataleya’s actions have brought on the attention of FBI Special Agent Ross (Lennia James). Ross is determined to stop Cataleya but is hampered by a shady CIA agent Richard (Callum Blue). Now Cataleya must dodge both men as she gets closer to avenging her family.

Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen show enough skill to create an action thriller that doesn’t go over the top. The action is intense. However, they along with director Oliver Megaton portray Cateleya as a skilled killer who uses her brains. She doesn’t just jump into action guns blazing. She uses her brains first. She outthinks her enemies, setting up them to be gunned down.

Oliver Megaton directs the movie subtley and with flair. Each action scene is drawn out with a touch of suspense. His shots and flow of each scene makes sure that each action scene is crafted. He clearly doesn’t want to use the same formula twice.

Zoe Saldana does a good job showing her acting skills. Saldana combines the mannerisms of a ruthless killer with a woman racked with grief and anger. Cliff Curtis’ Emilio is a criminal who wants to help his niece, but is concerned for her safety. Curtis’ acting skills allows him to come across as a criminal but believable that he truly cares for his niece. Michael Vartan plays the usual nice-guy role. However, his characters seems so forced during the course of the movie. His character has no purpose than to serve a romantic interest for Cataleya.

Action movies come and go. It helps for them to be remembered if they actually try to be more than a movie full of guns and explosions. ‘Colombiana’ offers guns, explosions, action and manages to provide some interesting characters and style that make it enjoyable.

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Notes & Asides, 9-7-11