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Colombiana

2011-09-15 10:44
 
A super-sexy Zoe Saldana impresses but this is one revenge thriller that struggles to escape the predictability of its genre.
What it's about:

After seeing both her parents gunned down before her as a child, a young woman goes on a murderous rampage to exact revenge on those guilty for her parents' death.

What we thought:

Following in the footsteps of Ripley, Buffy and, most recently, Hanna, Zoe Saldana's Cataleya is the latest in a line of female (anti-) heroes that are part "Grrrl Power" feminist figures, part ruthless ass-kickers and part fully-rounded, very human characters. She is also, unfortunately, the only truly noteworthy thing in what is otherwise a perfectly competent but dreadfully generic revenge thriller.

Director Olivier Megaton certainly doesn't shy away from playing up Miss Saldana's obvious sexiness but she's far too compellingly convincing as both a take-no-prisoners action hero and as a deeply damaged young woman to ever descend into cheap, exploitative eye candy. Zoe Saldana is simply very, very good in the role – so good, in fact, that she not only elevates the film but also shines a spotlight on the major flaws in the rest of the production.

Earlier this year, Joe Wright's Hanna was rather overlooked when it came out and, though it may not have been perfect, it went some way towards breathing new life into so well-worn a genre as the revenge thriller. It was a fresh, punk reinvention of the genre's conventions and it looks all the more revolutionary when held up against something like Colombiana. In a year when a film like Hanna is released, Colombiana, with its throwback style and its extraordinary ordinariness, simply isn't good enough.

Not that Colombiana is a terrible film. It may have a truly terrible title but, beyond Saldana's top-notch work, it does exactly what it says on the tin, with a strong sense of pace and a director who brings his experiences on films like The Transporter 3 and various European thrillers to bear on some effective action scenes.

None of that changes, however, the sense that we have been here before and we have been here often. You be able to predict precisely – almost eerily so – how the rest of the film will unfold after watching the first five minutes. There isn't a surprise, revelation or unexpected twist to be found and, for all of its solid action set pieces and efficient-enough storytelling, it can't help but be a little boring.

Beyond that, there is also the question of tone. Revenge stories can play out either through a trashy-but-fan aesthetic of a brainless action film or as a darker, more introspective look at how the quest for revenge torments the person seeking vengeance. They can take both routes but it requires a certain deftness to balance the fatuous silliness of the former with the earnest seriousness of the latter.

Though Colombiana obviously shoots more for the first camp than the second by being an action film with a few small character bits thrown in for good measure, Zoe Saldana's performance is so convincing that it makes us far more interested in the more dramatic moments than we were presumably supposed to be.

The result is a film that is not only overly familiar but is too frivolous as a character study and simply not fun enough as a full-on action flick. Saldana makes the film worth watching and it is a diverting enough couple of hours but you would be better off waiting for Hanna to hit DVD if you're looking for one revenge film to watch this year.

Read more on:    zoe saldana  |  review  |  movies
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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Amanda 11/8/2011 8:46 PM
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Its OK, it kept me interested most of the time, nice to see another action chic.
JAZZY 12/13/2011 4:05 PM
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Good movie.loved it!
JAZZY 12/13/2011 4:05 PM
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Good movie.loved it!
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