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|Index||203 reviews in total|
If there is one French director the non-French general public knows
about, it's Luc Besson. Even if the name means nothing to you, chances
are you've heard of the films he's had a hand in. Among his most famous
films are Léon: The Professional (which introduced American audiences
to Jean Reno and Natalie Portman), Nikita (which has been remade into
an American film and two American TV shows so far) and The Fifth
Element (which nearly 15 years later remains one of the most famous
science-fiction films as well as one of the 10 most expensive French
At the dawn of the new millennium, Besson started his own production company, EuropaCorp, which in the last ten years or so has funded its fair share of diverse movies, both in the French and English language. Nevertheless Europa (as it's known in short) is best known to mass audiences for its numerous, high-octane, medium-budget action films, most of which are written or co-written by Besson himself (often with Karate Kid screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen). Among these are the Taxi, Transporter and District B13 series of films, Wasabi, Taken, From Paris With Love, Danny The Dog (also known as Unleashed), Bandidas, Kiss Of The Dragon, Yamakasi, Crimson Rivers 2, Hit-man,... Through these films, Besson is also responsible for introducing the world to Parkour, which seems to have taken over action cinema in the past 5 years (and even making its way to films such as Step Up 3D).
Colombiana is another product from Besson's action film factory. The story starts in 1992 in Bogota, where some mob guy, Don Luis, orders a hit against a former associate of his who he considers has betrayed him, and naturally his whole family. Only young Cataleya Restrepo escapes the bloody shootout during an intense Parkour chase (what else?), and manages to reach her uncle in Chicago, to whom she swears that she'll become a hit-man and avenge her family. Fast-forward and enter Zoe Saldana as adult Cataleya as the rest of the film takes place, strangely enough, in 2007. With her uncle's help, Cataleya has indeed grown up to be an awesomely skilled contract killer, having performed 22 jobs in 4 years. However, she signs each of her kills with a message destined for her real prey, making her one of the FBI's most wanted. When the FBI decides to divulge her "serial killer" status, Don Luis and his men know what's up, and all hell breaks loose.
Much has been said of the film's similarity with Besson's Léon and Nikita, with many people musing that the film could just have well have been a sequel to Léon with Natalie Portman's character all grown-up and kicking butt (something fans have been dreaming about for years). Now I haven't seen Nikita, but while there are similarities between Léon's Mathilda and Colombiana's Cataleya, the two films are definitely not on the same level. Colombiana is really your typical, run-of-the-mill Besson action production, which is really not a bad thing. It is not in the top-tier of these films (where I place films such as Taken and Danny The Dog), but still a perfectly entertaining romp.
Viewers concerned with director Olivier Megaton due to the perceived lack of action in Transporter 3, his previous film, need not be concerned. The action here is almost non-stop, pretty much to the detriment of plot. While the story has potential and could make for a film with a lot more depth, whatever plot is here is minimal to the max, recycled, cliché and basically a hodge-podge of all previous hit-man/revenge/on-the-run-from-the-law films you've ever seen. There is absolutely zero character development whatsoever and if you didn't know that Cataleya's parents were murdered by Don Luis, you would have no idea why any of the characters are doing what they're doing. I'm not exaggerating, the Transformers films, heavily criticized for this reason, have more character development.
But lack of plot depth isn't really a negative here. More depth would have certainly made it a better film, but Colombiana is still entertaining as a simple, straightforward, "dumb" B action flick. Like all EuropaCorp films, production values are top-notch. The expected Parkour chase is kept fresh by having it unfold with a child. Zoe Saldana gives a great physical performance and spends a great deal of time flitting in and out of vents and the various hits shown in the film are all quite cool. The other actors also do fine, though Michael Vartan's character has very little purpose and is actually barely in the movie. Also this might be the only movie you'll ever see in which toothbrushes are used as weapons.
In short, know what to expect from Colombiana (which literally means Colombian woman by the way), and you'll enjoy it fine. It's a straight-up action movie, no more, no less, very low on plot, high on action, that falls straight into the heap with the scores of other similar Besson-produced films, though it doesn't possess the touches of humor that most of his other productions have. In comparison to the other hit-man movies of the year, it's superior to The Mechanic, but way inferior to Hanna (though it contains a lot more action than Hanna, which shouldn't be seen as an action film). This is no Léon: The Professional 2, fans can keep hoping that Besson and Portman work that one out at some point (interestingly, Megaton is first in line to direct if that movie does happen).
I guess some people just expect an award winning movie and actors every time they step foot into a theatre. I was doubtful about this movie in spite of the decent trailers. From start to finish I was blown away with the storyline and its continuous different turns. Maybe its not completely original in terms of the overall story, but what movie is these days. Colombiana keeps you glued to the screen. It has moments of love and drama, and then it brings out the action and suspense. I have not written a review in quite some time, but when a movie is receiving undue praise or criticism then i feel obligated to disclose the truth to the public. Do yourself a favor and go see it.
I went to a midnight screening last night at Times Square because I've
been wanting to see this picture for quite some time. With Colombiana
movie posters on every street corner and wall I figured it was going to
be a tremendous blockbuster to end the summer with. Didn't exactly end
up that way.
With some of the names behind this film, I was surprised at the abundance of cheesy bad guys, predictable scenes, and flat supporting characters. The only thing that moves this story along is Zoe Saldana herself with her tremendous presence on screen and beauty, which is breathtaking. She's very believable as a stone-cold assassin, especially the way she sneaks and crawls around with ninja like precision.
It's too bad they couldn't place Zoe and her character into a better storyline and provide her with stronger support. Without giving away the ending, there's also a final fist fight scene in the end which looked like it was filmed and edited by two high-school kids. Isn't this 2011? The technology there was very lacking or done in poor choice.
I still would recommend seeing the movie as its not bad-bad and there are some cool kill scenes, but I wouldn't qualify it as a must-see. The movie is somewhat groundbreaking only for the fact we have a Latina female as the lead role in an action film, hopefully this finally opens to the door for other darker skinned actresses in similar roles, which has been long overdue.
There are times when Colombiana almost works, but that's not good
The film stumbles in some ways that actually surprised me. For an action film, Colombiana is inexcusably lumbering. Its rhythm is all over the place, sometimes it's beautiful, sometimes it's broody, but most of the time it's just kinda boring.
I really like Zoe Saldana, even though her body is a better actress than she is. She moves like a ballerina and fights like an anorexic tiger, and she even achieves mild success in playing drunk comedicly (in a campy sort of way). It's too bad that most of the film demands little of what she's good at and more of something that requires an actor. Colombiana is burdened by too many scenes of poorly written, over-expository dialogue and false emotion.
In a way the vast bulk of the film becomes a build up for the climax. We know where we're going, but it's how we get there that is important, or so they say. I think if the pay off was better, it might've helped the movie a little as well, but no. the Climax feels rushed, and loud, and almost devoid of excitement.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Colombiana is one of those films where the hero gets from a to b using either coincidence or methods that are kept from the audience (which is frustrating). I love the fact that in one moment, Zoe has mere seconds to escape a garage turns to the air vent, and the bolts just happen to be loose enough to unscrew with her fingertips.
Columbiana left me with a feeling of shock. It's not a complete failure, but it doesn't end up delivering what it should have. It's almost a popcorn movie where the audience eats popcorn to stay awake. I can't say I recommend it.
First of all this is NOT a movie about Colombia. The producers may have
failed on representing it but this is not the POINT of this movie. It's
an action movie about a girl from Colombia and that's pretty much it
regarding Colombia. Don't get all frustrated with it. Here's my quick
1 - Trailer: I wanted to see this movie mostly based on the trailer which I found catchy. Action and sexy Zoe Saldana sells it all. Still I went on a cheap night because I wasn't convinced this would be worth the full price entry. What you see in the trailer is what you get. A lot of action left to be seen and overall it's a good intro to the movie.
2 - Cast & Characters: Ahhh Zoe Zoe! It's hard to watch her rather than just stare at her. She delivers a pretty solid performance in this movie. She goes all around sneaking up the bad guys and taking them out in creative and yet plausible ways unlike Angelina Jolie in Salt (2010) where her 100 pounds character takes out multiple 250 pounds guys in fist fights. The supporting characters are your "typical" Mexican (Colombian in this story!) guys that pretty much do nothing other than holding guns outside a villa and sipping on drink and cigars. Generic police guys fill the rest of the cast but I found Callum Blue quite enjoyable to watch.
3 - Plot & Story: I think the story is so generic that the little twists added to the script makes them even more surprising. You always feel like you know the next move but most of the time something unexpected happens. Unfortunately, the script as a whole is a bit sloppy and poorly paced. I didn't get bored at all in this movie and though the intrigue isn't much catchy, it was enough to keep me interested. There are many laughable moments (mostly intended) which is fun but the drama is really cheesy.
4 - Theme & Genre: As an action flick, this one stands right. It isn't a melting pot of car crashes and explosions out of nowhere. There is plenty of action and a good mix between Hollywood fireworks and realistic fights. The camera angles and editing sometimes get confusing but in some scenes they really add something cool to watch.
5 - Overall Appreciation: Alright let's face the obvious. There is no Oscars material here. This will get MTV Teen Choice Awards at best. It's a cheap night movie that is entertaining to watch and where you should not expect a classic in cinema. Did I appreciate it? Yes! Is it good? Not bad. I give it 6 out of 10 for Zoe Saldana, good fight scenes and cinematography. Too bad the supporting characters, cheesy drama and poor script kills it a bit.
The latest work from Europacorp didn't disappoint me. I love Luc Besson's mad action flicks and this was no different. Zoe Saldana is class as the sexy killer ready to do anything to get revenge on the criminals who murdered her family. It's territory we've seen over and over but I enjoyed it. The films action, when it comes, is thrilling. There are some inventive kills and a good little straightner at the end involving toothbrushes (believe it or not). Saldana will probably come a long way after this in terms of action roles and it's nice to see an actress who can act as well as kick ass. Lennie James is a bit on the didgy side with an accent that sometimes sounds like a drunken person at an Indian restaurant doing a bad impression of the waiter. He's a still a good actor all the same. I hope they continue to make these sorts of action films where I can just switch of and enjoy them because as long as they make them, I'll watch them. ***/*****.
If you have seen the trailer then you pretty much know what's coming. I
personally thought it was a pretty good flick and the action throughout
the movie definitely keeps your interest.
My only thought was that they should have gone ahead and pushed it to an "R" rated movie. With all the action and shooting, I believe there was almost little to no blood. I know the issue with too much violence and maybe they were trying to get a younger audience the ability to see this movie but it was lacking the "pop" factor by whitewashing too many scenes. Zoe Saldana did a superb job in this movie and I only wish that some of the supporting cast could have been on the same level that she is on.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Zoe Saldana is a star on the rise, she's strong, beautiful, intelligent
and a decent actress. Time to test her star meter as she takes the lead
for the first time on her own in an action film. In Hollywood, it's
rare to have an action movie staring a female, you need a good actress
to take the lead in order for it to be taken seriously. But my
boyfriend really wanted to see this movie because he just adores Zoe, I
think he just has a good crush on her, but it was his turn for the
rental. We watched it a couple nights ago and to my surprise without
any knowledge of the film prior to seeing it, I really did enjoy this
movie. I'm a little surprised at the rating as this is a better movie
that I've seen for a while at least for 2011. I thought Zoe made a
great action star, she was tough, sexy and brought a lot to a typical
Fabio, a gangster and drug runner, has a meeting with Don Luis, to pay off his remaining debt and leave his employment. Fabio, however, knows that Don Luis will put a hit out on him for leaving with a valuable item that he holds and wants, a small disk with valuable information on the drug lords, so he rushes home to prepare his wife, Alicia and his young daughter, Cataleya. Fabio hands Cataleya the item that Don Luis wants, telling her not to lose it and to give it to the Ambassador telling her that it is "her passport". He also gives Cataleya an address in Chicago. She then uses the business card her father gave her to get into the U.S. Embassy and goes to the Ambassador's office. In exchange for this, they give her a passport and a small amount of cash, and fly her to Miami. She goes to Chicago after and meets her uncle Emilio, who teaches her how to become one of the slickest killers. She grows into a strong woman who eventually goes in above her head going into a personal revenge plot on her parent's death.
The story may be predictable, but I liked the way it was handled over all. The action scenes were very tight and exciting. I loved that first scene with Cataleyna in the jail cell, it was very clever and almost reminded me of Catwoman the way she was just sliding her way through things. One thing I wished they would have talked about more was her feeling so lonely, it's a very brief conversation she has with her lover when he asks what she feels every night and it's never touched on again. She goes through this tough time as a child and it was just like to see her as an adult was more about the fighting and not the struggles she faces at times. But the actors did a good job, much credit to the man who played her uncle, Cliff Curtis, who had excellent chemistry with her. The film does need to explain more with the story but I felt that this was still a good movie with it's action and characters. Zoe is a good actress and I can't wait to see her more in the future.
I am giving this an 8, although it might be a 7, about the only bad
thing I can say about the movie is that, yes, the plot is somewhat of a
rehashed, predictable type of thing. However, Saldana is both sexy and
charming and dangerous from the moment she shows up drunk in a tight
dress. Yes you have to suspend disbelief a little bit to believe a gal
who can't weigh over 95 pounds soaking wet can fight big strong guys,
but good movies make you suspend disbelief, and this is a good movie.
Why is it good, because, unlike many action movies these days, they do take a few minutes to establish the main character as a person, so you care what happens to her, and also care if she achieves her goals.
I just watched it again on regular TV after renting it shortly after it came out, still and enjoyable flick, you have to like action/revenge flicks, but if you do this one fits the bill nicely.
If you watch Movies like this you want a lot of Cool Action, stylish
presentation, and an energy driven scenario that is a Comic Book like
other place. This one has all that. Not very intelligent or plausible
or much to think about, just a visceral ride for a mind-numbing couple
This is a slick and entertaining Girl With Guns romp, a favorite Character from Writer Luc Besson. His Films have a wide appeal and have varying degrees of success both as Art and as Entertainment. His best work is miles above his contemporaries and his worst is better than average.
This one falls in between. It is Artistic and will please Fans of the Genre, but does not rate as near his best. It is above average in its frantic display of rampaging revenge and glossy fights that are appealing as flights of fancy. Not much here is believable in any real sense, but that is the attraction of Comic Books. Luc Besson owes much to that format and Artform. He is a Writer/Director who pays his debts.
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