Colombiana (2011)

When her parents are killed by…Wait, when she loses both of her parents as a result of…OK, after being instructed to sit at the dining room table instead of hiding because…Oh screw it, vowing revenge on her parents’ killers after out-free-running her pursuers and escaping through a road-side drain, a young Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) trades a *murmer* and a small puddle of vomit for safe entry to the United States, moving in with her uncle (Cliff Curtis) when she has navigated her own way to Chicago. Ignoring his protests and training as a hit-woman anyway, Cataleya (Zoë Saldana) funds her revenge with odd jobs and a relatively simple existence (only two dogs, two properties and a armoured van). When a plot-advancing – but otherwise superfluous – romance leads to a run in with the FBI, the time might finally have come for that dish traditionally best served cold. No, I don’t know why it’s called Colombiana either.

Jesus love, we didn’t ask for your entire life story! I’m all for a cheeky flashback or two, but twenty minutes into Cataleya’s admittedly eventful childhood I was growing impatient due to the disasterous lack of Zoë Saldana onscreen. As Stenberg’s stunt double jumps out of the window for a bit of a run around, proceeding to throw up all over an important man’s desk; and then gives the USA’s immigration system the slip; and then navigates half the country on her own; and then tracks down her long-time-no-seen uncle; and then talks him into training her to be a killer, the film was dragging almost as much as this paragraph.

Do you remember when free running was cool? I’m going to ignore the many other flaws inherent in Colombiana‘s opening gambit – the brain-melting vagueness of it all, the painful performances, the scene in which Cliff Curtis unleashes a hail of bullets to little apparent effect – and focus on the sight of a ten-year-old girl jumping out of the window with absolutely no warning whatsoever. Bourne did it, Bond did it, heck even Bruce Banner had a go; but when Colombiana tries to follow Fast Five‘s footsteps, it finds itself eating some pretty serious dirt. Aside from the stupidity of it all, the sequence is ultimately robbed of success by the head-scratching confusion of what went before.

Seriously, in a film that really just comes down to Saldana shooting people while half-heartedly disguising her nipples, Colombiana doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Cataleya’s father did something or other, he upset a couple of people by doing something or other. Cataleya wants to avenge her parents, a decision she will fund by taking hit jobs off her gangster uncle who does something or other. Or something. For the most part, watching Colombiana is akin to reading a book with all of the punctuation taken out – with very little effort having been expended in terms of keeping the audience abreast of the shaky narrative (one minute Cataleya is all stone-faced killer, the next minute she’s weeping all over her local library). Worse, the parts recognisable as exposition are straight out of every other revenge thriller ever made.

I honestly think I had more fun watching Ninja Assassin, that God-awful vehicle for South Korean pop star Rain, and that film didn’t even have Uhura in it. While the film does perk up the moment Saldana walks in with all of her criminally mis-cast talent, it never really finds a voice of its own. Hell, its Big Bad even has pet CGI sharks; the only reason Austin Powers never encountered pet CGI sharks was that they pretty much lampooned themselves. Clearly going for the 3 for 2 offer on Clichés and Intellectual Property Theft, director Olivier Megaton (his own name apparently constituting the film’s entire quota of originality) even riffs of Bourne’s propensity for a stationary fight, this time with a truly unforgivable toothbrush attack.

Boring, baffling and generally a complete waste of perfectly good facial expressions, Colombiana is about as self-explanatory as its own utterly inexplicable title. If it hadn’t been for a particularly uncomfortable cinema seat and Saldana’s unfailingly captivating nipples, I genuinely think I’d have been happily staring at the inside of my eye-lids by the time the latter even made it onscreen.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to Colombiana (2011)

  1. Pingback: September 2011 – What, there are no good sharks? « popcornaddict

  2. Pingback: Fails of the Year – 2011 « popcornaddict

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