by Ryan Hill
If you’ve seen one action film written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen (“Taken,” “The Transporter”), you’ve seen them all. Only the names and places are different.
This time around, Zoe Saldana stars as Cataleya, who as a young girl witnesses her parents’ murder at the hands of drug dealers. She escapes the massacre and makes her way to Chicago via plane, train, and some Parkour action moves.
Since “Colombiana” is an unofficial sequel to Besson’s amazing 1994 film “The Professional” and follows a path that could have happened to Natalie Portman’s character in that film, Cataleya grows up to become an assassin so she can avenge her parents. Wearing skintight black spandex whenever she works, she stalks her prey like some sort of Catwoman on steroids, coming up with more and more ridiculous ways to dispose of her targets. She also draws a Cataleya flower on each of her victims in the hope that word will reach the drug dealer and his minions that she is coming for them. Eventually.
The problem with “Colombiana” is it’s supposed to be about Cataleya getting revenge for the murder of her parents, but the film ignores that fact as long as possible. The first two-thirds of the film are spent on either some over-the-top hit Cataleya’s taken on or her equally over-the-top relationship with a sensitive artist (Michael Vartan) who pleads with Cataleya to tell him more about herself instead of sneaking out before he wakes up.
“Colombiana” does pick up in the third act with an exciting shootout, but the problem is it mirrors so many of Besson and Kamen’s other films, even using director Olivier Megaton again, who helmed the duo’s lackluster “Transporter 3.”
It’s almost a crime to call “Colombiana” any kind of sequel to “The Professional,” which was much more than a revenge story and featured one of the greatest performances of Gary Oldman’s legendary acting career. Where “The Professional” dealt with redemption and the price of living a life of killing, “Colombiana” throws all that out the window in favor of a sleek superhero-like assassin who simply enjoys killing.
While certainly not as bad as other Besson/Kamen films such as “Transporter 3” or “From Paris with Love,” “Columbiana” fails to rise above it’s B-level roots to be anything other than just another throwaway action film.
Grade: 2/4 stars