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Released: 27th July 2011

Director:Olivier Megaton

Stars: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis

Certificate: 15

Reviewer: Luke Walkley

Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek) plays Cataleya. A young woman, who after witnessing her parents murder as a young child embarks on the path of revenge as an assassin. Working for her Uncle she uses her training to carry out a set of murders to draw the attention of Don Luis, the man behind her parent’s killings.

Certainly an enticing prospect, Zoe Saldana has become hot property in Hollywood ever since starring in the Pirates of the Caribbean and with great performances in both Avatar and Star Trek it was only a matter of time before she was given her own film. The idea behind the story has been bounced around numerous times, rehashed and portrayed by many actors so it was going to be interesting to see how a female lead could deliver the role.

The opening sequences are dedicated to showing the background to Cataleya’s position, Saldana’s young counterpart Amandla Stenburg does her best to portray Cataleya in her youth. However, the scenes feel too drawn out and while there are a few highlights, these are ruined by an over-the-top chase scene through the streets of Bogota as she tries to escape the scene of the murders. The streets are a maze of alleyways and houses, yet the henchman chasing her somehow know exactly which way she is going and all of a sudden turn into free-running experts.

The scenes that take place in America, that show both young and present day Cataleya are a weird mix of action scenes and attempts at being sensitive. The moral high ground that the film attempts to take is lost on the viewer as it isn’t explored enough. Cataleya’s life is dangerous and fast paced and thus, she is unable to form bonds with anyone, let alone a man. This idea could have led to some more sentimental moments, giving the plot some much needed depth.

The film however, centres around her attributes as the assassin. These scenes are crafted well. Cataleya displays real cunning and some of the cinematography is of a very high standard. It is perhaps the films major let down that there are only two of these scenes, each of which is surprisingly short. It seems odd that so much time was spent with seemingly unnecessarily long scenes of Cataleya as a young girl, that later scenes have to sacrifice time for them. The incorporation of the FBI/CIA investigating Cataleya is another dead end street, it literally goes nowhere. The use of the FBI plays some bearing in the storyline – but there was no need to introduce two characters, FBI Agent Ross being one of them, whose scenes are peripheral to the storyline and could have easily been erased and a simple explanation of the idea behind them incorporated in the storyline instead.

The films tagline ‘Revenge Is Beautiful’ is certainly exploited. Showing Zoe Saldana in the bare minimum of clothes, at every possible opportunity – even going as far as a scene where she dances in an empty room to music that is playing in the soundtrack not the room. It becomes very tedious and at times just plain ridiculous.

The film incorporates some interesting nods to previous films. We see a Scarface poster early on in the movie and there a quite a few references to the 1983 film peppered throughout the feature. Cataleya stares at a bank of monitors while sucking a lollipop – surprisingly close to Mr Montana smoking a cigar and giving in to his own paranoia. Even the mansion scenes have similarities, that unless they are completely coincidental are startlingly close to those of Scarface.

Colombiana is unfortunately going to fall into the same category as The Losers did, another mindless action flick, that’s potential isn’t reached by those involved. Saldana plays her role well, it’s a shame that the material lacked any real depth or desire to match her level. The supporting cast is average at best and half of them could have been left out and it wouldn’t have affected the overall outcome.

Colombiana is one of the biggest disappointments so far this year. Glaring mistakes and the inconsistent storyline fail to hold the audience’s attention. While Colombiana attempts to be the perfect hit, in reality it’s a slow, messy death from start to finish.

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