Seen: On dvd on my laptop, rented from netflix.
When Colombiana came out last year I thought it looked awesome, but kept hearing negative things about it and eventually it got lost in the shuffle. More recently a friend recommended it to me and when I realized it had a Luc Besson connection I hurried to see it. Zoe Saldana stars as Cataleya, a young woman who witnesses her parents' slaughter when she's 8, and vows to become a hardened killer so she can take revenge on the Colombian mobsters who took her life away. She moves from Bogota to Chicago and learns to be an assassin from her uncle, killing leading criminal figures and leaving a cataleya flower calling card with the hope of drawing out Don Luis (Beto Benites), her father's one-time drug lord boss.
Ok I have to immediately say that I do not get why people didn't like this movie? It's not the best thing ever but it's a pretty fucking solid action movie and it stars the exceptionally talented (and gorgeous) Zoe Saldana so where is the problem? Don't people like ladies with big guns anymore? I don't get it.
Anyway this movie is pretty cool. I really like Saldana and was disappointed that she didn't get to do much in Star Trek, plus she was the only one saddled with the miniskirt, so I'm glad she busted out the badassery and practical outfits for Colombiana. She's tough but sympathetic, and I really felt for her character. It helps that young Cataleya is played by Amandla Stenberg, who continues to seriously impress me after her stint as Rue in The Hunger Games. She's one kickass little girl, and I'm really excited to see what she does next. All the dudes in the cast are ok, I guess, nothing special. I liked Michael Vartan as the clueless artist boyfriend, which is weird since usually I resent unnecessary romance in action movies but it was handled pretty well and was actually relevant to the story.
Action-wise there are some awesome sequences, notably little Cataleya's nail-biter run through Bogota to escape the bad guys and her grown-up infiltration of a police station to kill a prisoner. There's also a nice bit with sharks. And the climax reminded me of the ending of Commando, in that it's basically one person taking out a shitload of criminal henchmen in the antagonist's fortified mansion. Only this time it's a woman of color! And most of the time she isn't hyper-sexualized or anything, so that's nice! Doesn't pass the Bechdel Test though, since there aren't really any other ladies, but still a generally good example of a kickass action movie starring a woman, I think.
Pair This Movie With: Another recently lady-centric action film I dug was Haywire. Also available, Leon/The Professional for more Besson taking a little girl and making her an assassin.
PS For a while I've felt that Zoe Saldana would make a fantastic Catwoman, and seeing her in a black bodysuit slinking around the police station just sealed the deal. Someone make this happen, please? Can we digitally replace Anne Hathaway in the new one? Because I do not have confidence that she will do a good job.