I want to be a killer. Can you help me?
There was talk of Luc Besson’s latest project Colombiana being a Leon 2: Mathilda – Assassin for Hire. The reality is far less attractive, a completely forgettable action film.
Zoe Saldana is Cataleya, daughter of a South American gangster who along with his wife is killed in a scene that recalls Besson’s Leon (something that happens a lot in this film).
Young and impressionable, the experience changes her and after making her way to America she decides she wants to be a “killer”. For some reason her Uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis) agrees and she becomes Saldana, a contract killer by day who searches for her father’s killer, hoping to drag him out of his hiding place by leaving a message (a drawing of the Cataleya flower) on her victims.
Olivier Megaton’s previous work indicated he’s not one for plot, character or fresh ideas. Besson and fellow scribe Robert Mark Kamen deliver a script that’s about as generic as it gets and unlike his name, Megaton can;t give the film the explosiveness it needs, instead, admiring Saldana’s body as she silkily goes about and kills people.
There’s the padding of her relationship with Michael Vartan’s Danny implying our heroine is damaged emotionally, recklessly endangering the lives of those close to her. She’s your typical beautiful but fragile assassin who floats around killing stereotypes and dresses in body hugging clothes.
There’s little substance to the characters and their relationships (Cliff Curtis comes close to adding a little bit of interest) and the action is sub-par. Explosive for sure, but filled with such inane action sequences (another parkour chase?) and some incoherent editing that it’s hard to decipher what the director and editor thought they were doing, (a fight scene with Jordi Mollà’s gangster is physical but my word is the camera tight on the action).
In the end Colombiana is the sort of passable, harmless film that’s churned out every year. It’s dim enough that it entertains with a few neat assassinations (toothbrush!) and Saldana’s pleasingly let loose with an assault rifle in the final act, but it sacrifices clarity for visceral fight sequences and the narrative is your standard humdrum revenge plot Saldana deserves better than this.