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Film Review: Colombiana

Sep 01, 2011 12:21PM ● Published by Wendy Sipple

Cataleya is a nine year old who bears witness to her parents murder and escapes. Fifteen years later she has trained with her uncle to become a killer and enacts a plan of revenge on the Colombian drug lord who is now protected by the CIA in New Orleans. The plot and story in the film are really that simple.

Colombiana has some nifty action sequences which are a mix of interesting and absurd. The real problem with the film is it is completely emotionless. The brief glimpses of any emotion in the lead character of Cataleya are mostly disturbing. In short it is hard to feel a lot of empathy for the character or really get too invested in her plot for revenge. Even the “bad” guys are flat and show up only in small parts.
Luc Besson, who has written and directed several popular action vehicles, many with female leads, did not do his best work here. This is the same writer that did a superb job with Taken just a few years ago. Colombiana had several laugh-inducing lines at parts that I believe were intended to be dramatic. The dialog is that bad. The story as a whole doesn't draw you in as there are not many characters to root for in the film. They even tried to squeeze a love story that was so poorly developed and shallow that it would have been best left on the cutting room floor. The action scenes, while entertaining had way to many convenient moments that were more silly than cool. The premise is promising but the execution just was not there.
Olivier Megaton is good at piecing together action scenes but just seemed lost with the drama. Perhaps the most puzzling part of the movie was the portrayal of Cataleya. Both the young actress and Zoe Saldana were robotic-like in the role so it was difficult to decipher if it was the directing or just wooden performances. In any case it didn’t work for me at all. Instead of cheering for her to succeed I found myself hoping for her capture. Cataleya comes across as that unlikable and that disturbing.
If you are a fan of low budget action films, the kind that often star Dolph Lungren, you will find some entertainment value here. The action, while silly, was entertaining. However if you like plot, character, decent acting and dialog you would be best to look elsewhere. Colombiana didn’t succeed in enough areas for me to be able to recommend it.
Films like Colombiana – Kill Bill, Elektra and Ultraviolet
 

 


Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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