Colombiana

Colombiana

2011, PG-13, 107 min. Directed by Olivier Megaton. Starring Zoe Saldana, Jordi Mollà, Lennie James, Amandla Stenberg, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Sept. 2, 2011

I have difficulty believing that "Megaton" is director Olivier's actual last name. A disciple of Luc Besson (who co-wrote the script with Robert Mark Kamen), Megaton simply does not live up to the Hiroshima-leveling explosivity of his surname. Colombiana is one long megayawn; I'd have garnered more titillating thrills rewatching freckle-faced Russkie sexbomb Natalya Rudakova strut her leggy, sassy stuff in Megaton and Besson's Transporter 3.

As it is, Zoe Saldana (Lt. Uhura from the 2009 Star Trek reboot) – Colombiana's assassin, Cataleya, who’s hunting her family's killers – is easy enough on the eyes. What's missing from this film is any sense of import. And suspense. And originality. And anything remotely resembling the action masterpiece that Besson, in his younger days, was known for. Remember La Femme Nikita? The last Besson film of any note to play in Austin was the gloriously unhinged District 13: Ultimatum, which wasn't even directed by Besson (though he wrote it).

Colombiana's meandering story kicks off as the waifish Cataleya (played as a child by Stenberg) witnesses the murders of her parents. They're somehow involved in the Colombian drug trade, although that's never explained to anyone's satisfaction, like most everything else in this film. Fifteen years later, that Cat has relocated to Chicago and grown 9mm claws and a fetching penchant for black-on-black bodysuits. With the aid of her uncle Emilio (Curtis), she terminates 22 of the men involved in her family's demise before attracting the attention of Chicago Police Department Detective Ross (James). Few of the 22 kills are shown onscreen (why bother?) before the long but dumb arm of the law finally notices that this killer signs her bloody work with a lipstick-scrawled orchid: the Cattleya orchid, to be specific.

Colombiana, despite its many explosions and some howlingly wooden dialogue, is an eminently forgettable actioner. Unlike Megaton's previous film, the aforementioned Transporter 3, it lacks any sense of self-deprecating humor and Jason Statham, two huge setbacks for any internationally produced shoot-’em-up these days. Perhaps Besson will grow weary of helming the Arthur and the Invisibles franchise and grace us with Transporter 4: The Stathaming some day soon. Until then, it's strictly ennui time at Chez Besson.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Olivier Megaton Films
Taken 3
Liam Neeson's back in action.

William Goss, Jan. 16, 2015

Taken 2
The action in this Liam Neeson thriller is frenetic and frequent, and keeps him in constant MacGyver mode.

Marc Savlov, Oct. 5, 2012

More by Marc Savlov
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
Welcome back, Mister Wick: Everyone's favorite merciless killer gets more human and more intriguing

May 17, 2019

Carmine Street Guitars
Spend time with the quiet artisans who make the instruments that rock & roll is built upon

May 10, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Colombiana, Olivier Megaton, Zoe Saldana, Jordi Mollà, Lennie James, Amandla Stenberg, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle