I had the chance to watch Colombiana on Friday before Hurricane Irene had a chance to blow me away here in New Jersey. I was hoping that the film would give me that much needed excitement to take my mind off of the impending storm. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Colombiana is directed by Olivier Megaton based on a script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. Zoe Saldana leads the film with a supporting cast that includes, Michael Vartan, Callum Blue, Cliff Curtis and Jordi Molla.
The film follows a young woman (Saldana) who witnesses her parents' murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin. 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.
The film get's off to a great start with a mix of action and plot development, but fails to keep the intense pace in the third act. Besson's style is all over the film, even though he did not direct it. Megaton used a lot of sweeping aerial shots and shots where the characters loom over the camera, especially the villains. The action sequences are wonderfully choreographed and shot. There are so many scenes where I was at the edge of my seat with anticipation of what was going to happen next.
One of my favorite sequences was the action sequence in the California jail. That sequence shows how deadly of a killer Cataleya (Saldana) has become. It does not hurt to see Saldana in a skintight outfit (yes of course that was necessary, wasn't it?). This sequence and her escape from her apartment with SWAT on her heels was an enjoyable. It was really cool to see how methodical and calculated she is.
If you are a fan of Besson ,then you will likely enjoy this movie. Colombiana can be easily compared to Besson's The Professional. I like to think of Colombiana as a film that almost could pick up from where Professional left off, even though it in no way is related. Cataleyna and Mathilda (played by Natalie Portman) are very much alike. They both witness their family killed in front of them and then are mentored by cold-blooded killers.
The drawback of Colombiana for me, is that the film completely skips out on Cataleyna's training to become a killer. I know those montage sequences have been done over and over again in films, but I would have loved if there was one included in Colombiana. The film completely skips from Cataleyna saying she wants to learn to kill as a child to her grown up as Saldana.
The villain is no doubt evil based on his actions, but he is not visually menacing, Molla is hard to believe someone that I would be scared of. I think that might be a factor why a number of the shots were from lower angles. There is a fight sequence where he faces off against Cataleyna that was very hard for me to buy into.
I also would have been fine if the entire romantic elements of the film had been taken out. I love romance, don't get me wrong, but I felt that Michael Vartan's character was not needed in this film. Cataleyna's love of her family was enough for me to know she had a heart. Callum Blue's character was also underutilized, in the film.
If you are looking for a nice dose of action then I can think of other films (even some of Besson's) that can deliver better. Saldana is believable as a killer, but I would have loved to see her training to become such a badass! I also would have loved to have seen a more vicious bad guy, Molla did not cut it. I recommend seeing this film on DVD and skipping it in the theater, unless you are wanting to see something on the big screen.