Killer Zoe


26 August 2011| No Comments on Colombiana     by Sean Chavel


Zoe Saldana puts an enthusiastic spin on an often told story that is recycled entirely from stock elements. Colombiana has a heroine who stages a long and elaborate plot to avenge the drug kingpins that killed her parents, and puts her through some preposterously conceived sequences along the way. Bogota, the largest city of Colombia, hosts the opening action locale that inevitably becomes gorged in bloodshed. Our heroine’s first escapade is directed in such a garish and hyperactive way that you can tell it came from the Luc Besson factory that produced “The Transporter,” “La Femme Nikita,” “Taken,” and “The Professional.” Besson produced the movie while Olivier Megaton of “Transporter 3” directs.

You have seen her water-colored and ear-marked in “Avatar” and “Star Trek,” and shown with de-glammed beauty in “Death at a Funeral” and “The Terminal.” Here, Saldana takes on her role with the relish of Matt Damon taking on Jason Bourne. Saldana always is sexy and acrobatic as the trained assassin who breaks into highly guarded fortresses in a blink of an eye, and she’s got that slinky body that Catherine Zeta-Jones used to have like back in “Entrapment.” Killer sex appeal. She makes us feel like we’re watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Commando” remade with Catwoman.

Saldana’s first ludicrously over-the-top job is to break into police headquarters to knock off a new inmate who has arrived from another prison transfer. Saldana, as Cataleya, fakes drunk driving and without contest accepts the charges and is thrown into a cell, only to wait for the lights to go out so she can break out and assume the identity of a guard when she comes up on her target. Obviously, the much easier route would have had Cataleya taking sniper fire on her target as he is escorted into jail. Regardless, the sequence is stylishly directed with music bop.

The rest of the movie is like that, but you might wish that the filmmakers had laid off on the blue-metallic cinematography and other grunge visual aesthetics. When she’s not dispatching bad guys, Cataleya has a friends with benefits relationship with an artist hunk (Michael Vartan, talk about thankless love interest). Cataleya, the lone wolf as she is, is sexiest when she’s rocking out in her own tight short jeans. But there’s more to the flick than just her, it’s about the FBI team (Lennie James as the captain) hunting her down with the assistance of far-fetched technology – even far-fetched by trash movie standards.

As for family ties, Cataleya has her criminal uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis) to thank for teaching her the assassin trade. A house right out of 1983’s “Scarface” occupies the drug kingpin (Beto Benites) and his glowering sidekick (Jordi Molla). Somehow Cataleya jumps all over Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, etc. during her revenge campaign. It’s a simple story told with lots of flashiness and a dispose of common sense. Edited with razor-blades.

107 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “La Femme Nikita” (1991, France); “The Professional” (1994); “Salt” (2010); “Hanna” (2011).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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