It’s Luc Beeson for God’s sake. Just go with the flow. If nothing else, it will give you a few shallowly enjoyable moments in the theater where you can forget that Adam Sandler has a new movie coming out this Fall.
To be quite frank, Colombiana could be subtitled “Dirty Harriet.” Zoe Saldana is one lean, mean, slinky fighting machine, and you definitely don’t want to be on her shit list.
Here she plays Cataleya, a 20-something Colombian ex-patriot living in the United States. She eats, drinks and sleeps with one thought in mind, namely to kill all of those responsible for the execution of her parents 15 years earlier in Colombia. Given that her parents were major players in the Colombian drug trade, no one in this superficially enjoyable little farce has the moral high ground.
Since the screenplay for Colombiana is written by Luc Beeson, you know what you’re in for long before buying your ticket. He is the master at giving a ballet-type feel to brutal acts of violence, and Colombiana continues in that same vein. Think of Zoe Saldana’s avenging fallen angel as a female version of Jason Stathem’s iconic killer in the Transporter series (2002, 2005 and 2008), or Liam Neeson’s avenging father in Taken (2008).
In particular, the characters penned by Mr. Beeson and played by Mr. Stathem and Ms. Saldana are all but mirror images of one another. They are both sexually charged yet so emotionally scarred as to be destined to travel alone. They are violent killers with a warm heart, dispensing their own form of vigilante justice with a complete sense of righteous indignation.
As she has previously shown with remarkable performances as Neytiri in the mega-hit Avatar (2009); Uhura in the surprise hit of 2009, Star Trek, and in her breakout performance in the enjoyable Indie film Drumline (2002), Ms. Saldana is a star on the rise. And while it will be interesting to see the range of roles offered to her in the future, there is no question that she joins Michelle Rodriguez as the two nastiest, kickass actresses working today.
Sure, you can take a pass on Colombiana, dismissing it as lightweight and largely predictable, but then you would be denying yourself the profound sense of guilt to be experienced after leaving the theater and admitting that you enjoyed it. In particular, it has a wildly inventive beginning involving Ms. Saldana as an 8-year old school girl being chased by the murderous assassins of her parents, and those scenes are worth the price of admission alone.
On the other hand, if you are still reluctant to pull the trigger, then I am more than willing to rent out my Saudi exchange student, Thamer, and any number of his friends to go with you. There is a reason why God allowed 20-year old boys to exist among us on this troubled earth, and that is to take them to movies like Colombiana. There are few things they love more than going to movies that are as violent as they are tawdry, yet curiously stylish in a superficially cosmetic way. These films are undeniably one gigantic adrenalin rush that appeals to their hormonal imbalance.
Ahh, to be 20 again!