Thursday, February 9, 2012

Zoe Saldana Acts "Colombiana" Out of Action Movie Ghetto

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 11 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Colombiana (2011)
Running time: 108 minutes (1 hour, 48 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language
DIRECTOR: Olivier Megaton
WRITERS: Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen
PRODUCERS: Luc Besson and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Romain Lacourbas (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Camille Delamarre
COMPOSERS: Nathaniel Méchaly and Craig Walker

ACTION with elements of drama

Starring: Zoe Saldana, Cliff Curtis, Jordi Mallà, Beto Benites, Lennie James, Michael Vartan, Amandla Stenberg, Callum Blue, Jesse Borrego, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Ofelia Medina, and John McConnell

Colombiana is a 2011 action movie from French filmmaker, Luc Besson. An American and French co-production, Colombiana is another of Besson’s films featuring a fight girl or action chick (my terms). These lovely ladies appear in such Besson films as Nikita (1990) and The Fifth Element (1997).

Colombiana opens in Bogota, Colombia in 1992. Nine-year-old Cataleya Restrepo (Amandla Stenberg) sees her parents killed by gunmen working for the drug lord, Don Luis Sandoval (Beto Benites). With the help of the U.S. Embassy, Cataleya escapes to the United States, where she is reunited with her uncle, Emilio Restrepo (Cliff Curtis). The girl insists that he train her to be a killer.

The story moves to 2007 and finds the adult Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) working as a killer-for-hire for Emilio, but Cataleya leads a double life. First, she has a boyfriend, Danny Delanay (Michael Vartan), an artist. Secondly, she is a tag killer, murdering various criminal types and leaving messages on their bodies, messages directed to Don Luis. Meanwhile, her activities have attracted the attention of FBI Special Agent James Ross (Lennie James), who is trying to learn the identity of the tag killer. When Don Luis decides to pay attention to Cataleya’s messages to him, he sends his right hand man, Marco (Jordi Mallà), to send a message back to Cataleya.

Colombiana is a good revenge action flick. I won’t say great because the screenplay leaves Cataleya as a cipher. It’s cool that in the movie, the other characters don’t know much about her, but the audience should get to know her more than we actually do. Still, the action scenes with both young Cataleya and the sexy older Cataleya are stimulating and visceral. Zoe Saldana proves two things: that her beauty and presence make her a movie star and that she has the acting chops to elevate even B-movie material like this. Young Amandla Stenberg as young Cataleya also shows some acting chops and even a bit of “it” factor.

Colombiana isn’t high cinema, but it delivers on what it is. This is titillation cinema that pays off.

6 of 10

2012 Black Reel Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Actress” (Zoe Saldana)

2012 Image Awards: 1 nomination: “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” (Zoe Saldana)

Friday, February 03, 2012

1 comment:

  1. I seen the previews and read the reviews on Colombiana and I was excited to see it, I couldn’t wait. My husband was really excited too, he loves Zoe. There was a ton of action and I love a movie with a tough chick that can kick your butt. Luckily I was able to watch this movie by using Blockbuster@Home all in the comfort of my home. I didn’t have to stand in line at a kiosk or travel to a store wasting gas. It's an awesome way to get the latest and greatest rentals before anyone else. I can stream any movie, over 100,000 movies to my TV. Since Blockbuster@Home was introduced at my job at DISH, it has been a great package to rent movies; you can even get video games mailed to your home with a big range of selections to choose from.