I’m all for the revenge genre, and considering the new film Colombiana is a loose sequel to director Luc Besson’s The Professional I should have been over the moon about this. Unfortunately, Colombiana abandons character and story in favor of generic action scenes and star Zoe Saladana in continuous states of undress. That may be good for 15 minutes of fun but not nearly enough to sustain a 107 minute film.
When Cataleya (Saldana) was a child her parents were brutally murdered by a drug lord/gangster named Don Luis (Beto Benites). With the help of her uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis), Cataleya has been trained in the ways of the assassin to get a chance to destroy the man who killed her family.
I applaud director Olivier Megaton for making a continuation of The Professional, by way of a direct remake. If you enjoyed the basic story of The Professional then you’ll enjoy this. The action is non-stop so you never get a minute to sit still before cars, guns, and people are flying at the screen.
Sadly that’s about all there is to love about Colombiana. The movie is a direct rip-off of The Professional and a sloppy one at that. The characters in The Professional were likeable for the most part but no one in Colombiana is a good person. Cataleya’s parents are implied to be in the gangster life. Sure her father quits at the beginning but he doesn’t plan on turning them in, leaving that oddly enough for Cataleya to do. Cataleya herself is a pretty rotten person herself. She uses a friendly painter named Danny (Michael Vartan) for sex and at one point threatens to kill a cop’s entire family if he doesn’t help her. Again, it’s revealed that she wouldn’t plan on killing anybody but the threat is given which doesn’t endear anyone to want to help her. The action is good but laughable at times, who would believe an 8-year-old could parkour? It’s even more laughable to see super skinny Saldana wrestle and pin men three times her size.
The acting is just as generic as the story. Saldana is usually a good actress but here she plays the character as a dead-eyed zombie. She has these ridiculous plans that require so much coincidence that she’d make MacGyver blush but she never seems to be very smart. Her dialogue is wooden and she has zero chemistry with Vartan, who plays his role as the rote lovable idiot. Cliff Curtis is good as Uncle Emilio but he has a strong New Zealand accent that comes through despite his role as a South American. Jordi Molla is essentially playing his character from Bad Boys 2 which would be fun but he doesn’t seem to have that much screen time.
I wanted to be able to enjoy Colombiana as mindless entertainment but the characters are so unlikable, the story goes nowhere and the action is either laughably unrealistic or just done over and over. If this had gone somewhere like a sequel to The Professional it could have been great. As it is the film tacks on a blatant “sequel” ending but I wouldn’t be interested in seeing the further adventures of Cataleya anytime soon.