Movie Review – Colombiana (2011)

Colombiana, 2011.

Directed by Oliver Megaton.
Starring Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis and Lennie James.


A young woman, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.

This is a no holds barred ‘vengeance actioner’ with the great Zoe Saldana (Avatar [that’s right, she’s that sexy blue cat], Star Trek) getting a role that lies somewhere between Kill Bill and Man on Fire. One of the writers behind Colombiana is director Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element) – and for fans of his cult classic Leon (a.k.a The Professional) – this feels about as close as we’re going to get to the much talked about sequel starring Natalie Portman as Mathilda, as a grown up assassin. So for that reason alone – I was probably geared to enjoy it.

Saldana gets most of the screen time and relishes in the kick-arse role with the scarred and wounded past driving her. She’s exceptionally graceful in her action scenes – displaying some of the agility that made her sexy blue cat so memorable. And despite her small frame, Megaton and Saldana make you believe that she’s capable of dishing out the punishment. She also delivers fragile and pained with great sincerity despite the subject matter; she’s really a good actor. Most of the supplementary cast all do their jobs quite well; most notable is Kiwi Cliff Curtis who plays Emilio, her uncle, that has both trained her and facilitates her assassination business. Curtis carries his role well – being able to traverse brutality and concern. He’s got a great weathered fighter look that makes him convincing. The bad guys scary Columbian drug lords, are all forgettable as the antagonists; probably for the best as you’re cheering that they’re killed quickly.

The director Megaton has clearly been influenced by Tony Scott, Michael Bay and Paul Greengrass and fashions together a both intimate and explosive action film. I must commend Megaton for keep the scale of the film believable for the most part – more and more modern actioners are using the language of the Bourne franchise but (post-The Expendables) slipping back to the unstoppable killing machine man mountains of the 80s Regan Era Re-Masculinised movies of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, JCVD et al. Now if you can get past the opening sequence – which nearly lost me for its ridiculousness – you’ll find a brutal but exceptionally graceful killing machine (Saldana) that wins you over for the rest of the film.

This isn’t a great film, but I do enjoy sexy, vengeful, kick-ass ladies dishing out all manner of ass-kicking. You don’t have to catch it at the cinema unless you’re a fan of action/revenge films (or Leon: The Professional), but I would think this is a nice surprise when it shows up as the Friday movie.

Blake Howard is a writer/site director/podcaster at the

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