Blog #48: Movie Review: Colombiana

I decided to skip Colombiana when it was in theaters.  While I did enjoy it, I don’t regret that decision.

Spoilers ahead.

Zoe Saldana plays Cataleya.  As a young girl, she witnessed her parent’s brutal execution in Bogota.  She grows up to be a stone cold killer, working for her Uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis) as an assassin.  Her only real goal is finding and killing the man who had her parents murdered.

Okay, while this is a great action movie, that’s really all it is.  There are some really amazing action sequences, such as Cataleya’s infiltration of a police station to murder a man in custody, and her escape from her apartment when the FBI finds her for example.  Her plans are brilliantly choreographed, and not as unbelievable as you might think.  The way she takes out the air conditioning at the police station would make MacGyver proud, and it *seems* like it would really work to me (but what do I know).

Where the movie fails is in emotionally investing you in her goal of killing the man who murdered her parents.  Sure, you want to see her succeed, how can you not after seeing her parents killed in front of her?  But what you feel for the little girl who has witnessed something terrible is somewhat reduced when just a few days later she tells her Uncle to teach her to be a killer.  After that its simple revenge, which isn’t a bad plot, but it needs something more.

As an aside, that is one of my favorite scenes, as her Uncle pulls out his gun and shoots up a passing car, just to demonstrate being a killer.

I think they really missed something in the story, and it was right there, they just had to do it.  Cataleya has a boyfriend (or at least a guy she sleeps with).  I honestly don’t recall if they told us how long this was going on or if this was a recent thing, or what.  (I admit to not being so engrossed in the movie as to catch that.  One of the reasons I like seeing movies in theaters is I’m not sitting at my computer.)   There is a very telling scene where he asks her to tell him one thing about herself.  Ultimately an innocent mistake he makes that leads the FBI to her.  Why didn’t they just have him kidnapped and used as a hostage?  If she were trying to not only kill her parent’s murderer, but also rescue the man she loves, that would have given watchers a greater emotional investment in her success.  At least I think it would.

Another problem I had was her threatening the FBI agent’s family.  She clearly doesn’t have it in her to actually kill his family if he doesn’t help her find her parents’ killer.  She is too emotional when she looks at them in the picture.  Now, of course, he still has to assume she will do it and help her, but watching that scene I don’t for a minute believe that she would have done it.  You either present yourself as a stone cold killer or a person who has a conscience.  If you’re both, you CAN’T show your conscience to someone you’re threatening.  You lose your credibility.  That might be nitpicky, but it stood out.  Not sure if this was Saldana’s fault or the director.

Anyway, not a bad movie, it’s just missing something.  Action junkies will certainly enjoy it.

Thanks for reading!

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About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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