[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B0064OUFKQ][/pullquote] Luc Besson is probably most famous for Leon, starring Oscar-winner Natalie Portman in her first major role. His films tend to have certain similarities, there’s always a strong female character, the dialogue is cliched and unrealistic, the action exciting if a little camp and like Michael Bay, is often shot at twilight. He writes more than he directs and his latest script, Colombiana has been directed by Olivier Megaton.
Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) is a young girl in Bogota who witness’ her parents death at the hands of a vicious Colombian drug lord. She escapes with a microchip full of information that allows her access to the USA. Once there she finds her uncle (Cliff Curtis), who trains her to be a killer and she begins to assassinate people and leaves a lipstick image on their chests as a a message to the drug lord whom she hopes to take revenge upon.
There are some serious problems with Colombiana. The opening setup in Bogota is overly long, with some parkour runners thrown in for no adequately explained reason. From the outset you know exactly where the plot is going, which is fine, but the film really drags its feet to get there. This extended sequence that we have to endure does not create any sense of audience-film relationship and so Colombiana is on the back foot from the get-go.
Luckily Saldana is impressive in her role and really throws herself into it. A lesser actress would struggle with the hammy dialogue and ridiculous (but quite fun) set-piece action scenes, but she seems happy to give it her all and the result is as good as you could hope for considering the restraints imposed on her. The supporting cast is a mixed bag with Lennie James and Cliff Curtis both good and everyone else pointless or disappointing. The name of the film makes no real sense either. The action begins in Colombia, but the addition of ‘iana’ seems like an odd and completely baffling decision as Colombiana really means nothing.
The plot is as cliched as they come. The revenge thriller has been shown numerous times, and often with a female lead. Even Besson has trod this ground before in Nikita in 1990 and Leon in 1994, and unfortunately Megaton brings nothing original to the proceedings. Saldana gives a decent performance as the broken and bitter hired-gun.