Colombiana – Review

Amid the high times of cocaine exporting in 1985, Colombiana begins strongly in gritty South America. One can almost smell the lethal mix of burnt tortilla, diesel fuel, and AK-47 gunfire. Don’t arrive late: The opening occasions edge-of-your-seats thrills, as young, doe-eyed Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the death of her parents in Bogata and then cleverly escapes both the mob there and U.S. witless protection. Settling into the arms of her Tio (Cliff Curtis) and crying for the first time, Cataleya informs him that she will devote her life to revenging her parents’ death. Named for the Zulu word for “power,” Amandla is the real deal, and as a Hanna-like killer would have been very believable.

Sadly, the film transitions fifteen years later: enter the nubile Cataleya (Zoe Saldana, Avatar). Her sexy drunk act gets her thrown into the clink, which we soon learn was her intention all the time. Here she channels Houdini to kill her 22nd victim. Falling to her own hubris, she leaves a calling card, an image of an orchid her father gave her before his death. Saldana has a killer face-and-bod, but her acting is Brigitte Nielsen (Point of No Return) one-dimensional, which is fine until the action slows down. Her romance with an almost catatonic Danny (French actor and former Alias star Michael Vartan) puts off such a big snore one needs a sleep-apnea mask.

Many of the over-the-top killings from director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) pay homage to Robert Rodriguez, and especially Machete, in their cinematography. In fact, Machete actress (and hot bod) Michelle Rodriguez would have been a better choice for the heroine, for she not only smokes up the screen, but also displays some acting chops. Nonetheless, Killer Film aficionados will enjoy this film, better than most of the pabulum presently on the big screen.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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