Zoe Saldana in Colombiana (2011)

Warrior Assassin

When she was just a small child living in Colombia in the early 90s Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) witnessed her parents being murdered, a kill ordered by cartel boss Don Luis (Beto Benites) for something her father did. If it wasn't for her agility on the run Cataleya would have been killed too but instead makes it to Chicago where her uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis - Crossing Over) takes her in. Angered by her parents murder young Cataleya vows to become a top assassin and one day get her revenge on Don Luis. Many years later and thanks to her uncle's guidance Cataleya (Zoe Saldana - The Losers) has turned into an expert assassin, killing bad guys and only bad guys for a living and leaving her call card after every hit. When the FBI decides to release this information Don Luis realises that whoever the assassin is will be coming after him.

I guess that if you are a child and see your criminal father gunned down you are going to go one way or another, decide to distance yourself from the world of crime or as in the case of "Colombiana" seek revenge. Of course seeking revenge makes for a better movie than someone deciding to go straight but it is a theme used time and again and surprisingly often when it comes to a young girl wanting justice. In fact Luc Besson who wrote the screenplay for "Colombiana" had already done it and in some ways the mention of Besson's name is one of the reasons why "Colombiana" kind of disappoints as you expect more from the man who gave us "Leon".

Cliff Curtis and Amandla Stenberg in Colombiana (2011)

Anyway as you can guess "Colombiana" is pretty straight forwards; after a decent opening which creates a decent atmosphere whilst serving up what feels like an obligatory parkour scene, a spectacular one at that it then goes routine. By that I mean after training to be a killer you know that eventually Cataleya is going to come face to face with the man she wants to kill and so it is what happens in between which has to entertain. But an attractive woman crawling through vents in a skin tight outfit and so on is nothing which hasn't been done before and it is why "Colombiana" ends up entertaining but ordinary. Not only that it is all a movie which when you try to rationalize becomes a joke which contrives things purely for the purpose of entertainment.

Now what that really means is that after that decent, high energy opening "Colombiana" becomes just an action flick with a hot woman at the centre of it and nothing more. And in fairness Zoe Saldana pulls off the hot action chick routine even if the character itself has logical problems. But Saldana gets little support from the rest of the cast because they are all saddled with thin characters who are often far too cliche.

What this all boils down to is that if all you want is a familiar action movie involving a hot assassin then "Colombiana" is going to do the job. But if you are after that little bit extra, some logic and characters with depth it will most likely come up short.