Zoe Saldana has been a rising star for the better part of a decade. After a scene-stealing turn in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie she followed with a string of hits including The Terminal, Star Trek and Avatar. In each of those films she was either supporting a major star like Johnny Depp and Tom Hanks or working on big-budget effects-driven features. In her newest film, Colombiana, the New Jersey native must carry the film without a marquee costar or abundant green screen work.
In the film Saldana plays Cataleya Restrepo, a Columbian girl who witnesses her parents’ murder at the hands of a cartel leader’s thugs. After escaping to the United States she grows into an adept assassin for her Uncle. She also targets members of the cartel that killed her family in the hopes of one day getting to those involved in her family’s demise. All the while she is being chased by law enforcement and trying to maintain a relationship with her boyfriend.
Written by Luc Besson, mostly known in the US as the man behind The Fifth Element, the screenplay tends to be melodramatic. This works well for the fast-paced action. However, there are flaws such as unexplained parkour skills, weak character development and a few scenes where Saldana’s sex appeal is displayed for no apparent reason. These are minor quibbles though. Colombiana is a strong action movie that doesn’t rely on CGI to excite audiences. It works because the action is physical; choreographed fight scenes and taut directing are the foundation for the film.
Saldana proves she is fully capable of driving a film on her own. She is both sexy and gritty. She has a cool confidence that translates well to the big-screen. She is rarely in over her head and really has you believing she can do the things you see in the film. Colombiana is an entertaining action vehicle that could catapult Saldana to greater heights.
Bottom line: Colombiana is a good action movie with plenty of elements that will appeal to men and women alike. Well worth the cost of admission
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