Newest Review: ... incurs his wrath. It takes about half an hour for Cataleya to escape to the US, find her uncle and for the predictable time change to th... more
The revenge of the female assassin
Member Name: pmcds
Advantages: Saldana, action, music, direction
Disadvantages: Nothing really
Zoe Saldana has become the latest actress to push the bottom of the A listers in Hollywood, with a string of films featuring her as the lead female. Colombiana focuses almost solely on her character, an assassin named Cataleya out for revenge for the killing of her family when she was a little girl. Trying to smoke out the drug baron who ordered their deaths, she has racked up a series of 22 kills in the hope that the authorities will release them to the media and her enemy will react.
The opening scenes form the basis for the film, set in early 90s Colombia, and we see a lengthy scene where Cataleya's father cuts his ties with boss Don Luis and subsequently incurs his wrath. It takes about half an hour for Cataleya to escape to the US, find her uncle and for the predictable time change to the present day to happen, and while sometimes this would be too much, I felt this provided a really strong base for the film. It was fast paced and entertaining, with a few key scenes for later on in the film and cleverly directed.
Once the real action starts with Cataleya as an adult assassin, it's high entertainment and weak plot as per the standard action film. I didn't feel this broke any boundaries, but nor would it be comparable to Nikita for example. Saldana provides a unique character and the key thing really is that the main focus on characters is smouldered somewhat by the anxious camera and frenetic soundtrack. The action comes thick and fast, the acting interloping between fast paced scenes. I guess the slower and languid opening story setter when Cataleya was younger allows for less plot to develop later on. We learnt all we needed to early on, the rest is all action and music.
It's standard and nothing special, although a very solid action film. I was impressed with the fight choreography, and luckily any attempt at romantic involvement for Cataleya was kept relevant to the main plot and wasn't just for the sake of having a love interest. So often you get the romantic side that adds a comedy element and almost ruins the atmosphere of the film, but here everything seems relevant and it actually makes a calming and clear plot to follow and an entertaining film to watch as the time ticks by.
I've already mentioned the music, but it does actually have a huge impact on the film. It sets the atmosphere and matches the camera pace very well throughout the film. I think this is something often missed in action films, with fast paced music often thrown in with little or nor precision. Here, though, it was clear that it was specifically placed, the more sinister music used for the sneakier and stealth parts of the film, while the faster paced stuff was good when it was all out action.
Saldana holds this together well and it's also well directed. I enjoyed this film, and while it wasn't and was never going to be anything special, it's very solid and something I'd happily recommend.
Summary: Cleanly filmed and presented assassin revenge film