When toothbrushes are used as weapons in one of the final, important boss battles, you kind of realize what kind of trash a movie like Colombiana really is. They don’t even use the brush side! The film should consist of an acceptable story and tons of in your face, hard hitting action, but you don’t get that, instead you get to see Zoe Saldana poke men twice her size with plastic toothbrushes. Rarely is there any sort of good, comprehensible action. The film is full of quick cuts that purposely go out of focus, hoping that you don’t realize Zoe Saldana isn’t doing any of her stunts or maybe because the filmmakers are hoping that you get sick from all of this shaky cam nonsense, which would lead to you exiting the theater and coming back during one of the dozen crying scenes, randomly inserted into the film to add “depth”. Depth that is as shallow as a puddle on the sidewalk. Not one single character is likable and not one single character gives off any sort of engaging content. Everyone just kind of stands around or dies.
Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) is an innocent girl, who witnesses her parents’ deaths and is left with nothing. She escapes her country and flees to America; following the instructions that her father gave her. “This is your passport”, he says to her while handing her a mini micro usb chip back in 1992. She escapes with said chip, which contains tons of dirty secrets that we never really find out about. Once she enters America she follows given instructions to a man named Emilio (Cliff Curtis). From there he raises her to become a deadly assassin, but Cataleya realizes that her true life calling is to exact revenge on those who killed her parents. The film plays out in regular fashion, with Cataleya getting closer to the killer by killing those around him, but nothing is as simple as it seems because this killer is also hunting down Cataleya and anyone close to her. Add in an FBI agent who just got handed the case of hunting her down and the result is an action film that is very light on the action and heavy on the boring.
Colombiana does nothing interesting with its given running time. You’d think that it would be easy to direct an always sexy Zoe Saldana, but apparently Olivier Megaton forgot that Transporter 3 sucked. Instead of pumping up the action or going the serious route and give us a serious story, Megaton tries to achieve both and fails. We get little bits of action that is heavily watered down for the always lovely PG13 rating. The action never makes sense because of the obvious physics. Saldana is a smaller woman and there is no way she can take down these big bulky men, but I’m willing to ignore that in exchange for some slick sequences of hand to hand or gun play, but none of that is featured. The action consists of quick cuts, shaky cameras and extremely zoomed in shots that make for a confusing movie. You never really know what is happening. When the camera isn’t super zoomed in, it is super zoomed out to make sure not to reveal any bloody details of Cataleya gunning down an entire van. You either spend most of the running time on someone’s forehead or most of it sitting in the bleachers.
What makes it worse is the completely random pacing. It starts out making you think it’s going to be another fast paced actioner by Megaton/Besson, but then it cuts to five minutes of Saldana dancing in her apartment for no reason, followed by another 10 minutes of her crying to some painter that never gets any detail. It’s so damn annoying when it jumps from trying to be an action film, to trying to be a serious film to trying to be a commercial for how hot Zoe Saldana is. I can’t even remember how many random shots of her putting on her bra were in the film. It always gets so close to revealing something, but it’s all just a big tease with no payoff.
Sooner or later you start to become aware of the fact that there won’t be a payoff and the whole thing is a waste of time. The acting is horrible, even from Saldana. The only performance I didn’t hate was by Lennie James, who plays the FBI agent trying to solve the case of the mysterious assassin, but he disappears from the film 3/4th’s in. You have Jordi Molla playing the usual greasy haired bad guy, but he is given no depth or details either. He pops up in the beginning for a few minutes then goes off camera for most of the film only to hop back in towards the end for a quick and horribly shot fight scene with Saldana.
There is really no reason to watch Colombiana. There are a dozen films that have the same premise, but don’t completely suck. The film is loaded with problems, from not establishing a tone, to really bad camerawork. Everything in the film doesn’t work on any level. There is absolutely nothing redeemable in Colombiana and it’s a shame because Zoe Saldana is always fun to watch. She did fine in The Losers, which was an action film from last year, but Colombiana is an indicator that she can’t lead a film. I went in with the popcorn flick mind sight and I still managed to have my intelligence insulted. If you can’t have a good story then make up for it with action, but if you can’t have action or a story then you’re shit out of luck and wasting my time.
There was a scene towards the end of Colombiana that had a quick shot of a lady sitting at a bus station looking tired and sad and when I saw that I realized that was me and probably the rest of the people that sat through Colombiana. I was tired, bored, mad and just generally disappointed in a film that I had little to no expectations for. Saldana has done better, Megaton has done better and it is a shame to see such talent go to waste. Try again!
Colombiana – 5.5/10