Don’t let its dour reviews and measly 28-percent Rotten Tomatoes rating daunt you from watching Colombiana—yes, the revenge plot is cheesy, and the sequences too jittery, but Zoe Saldana (Avatar and Star Trek) kicks a lot of ass as the vengeful and sultry assassin Cataleya.
A drug lord named Don Luis killed Cataleya’s parents when she was nine, but not before her father was able to give her a memory card containing valuable information about the drug trade and the address to the American embassy in Bogota. When she was flown to the States, she ducked her escort and fled to Chicago to find her uncle, who would train her to become a professional assassin.
Fifteen years later, she is fashionably breaking into prison cells, slipping up air vents in scanty suits and stilettos, and feeding goons to their own pet sharks, all the while managing to date a sensitive painter on the sly, who does not even know her real name and through whose iPhone the FBI manages to track her down.
In the end she finally gets to settle her score with Don Luis, preluded by more impossible gunfights and a climactic duel with Don Luis’ right-hand man, whom she manages to defeat using just towels and toothbrushes.
The movie, in film critic Peter Howell of Toronto.com’s words, is indeed “preposterous on every level, but fun to watch”. The drama has not enough depth to move you. We’ve all read and seen payback crime stories before and the tragic we-can-never-be-together love subplots that come with them, but Saldana makes up for it by portraying her character well—successfully evoking the steely, single-mindedness and at the same time the bleak, painful solitude that comes with being an assassin.
As for the fight scenes being bordering on the impossible, since when have action movies ever thrived on mere shooting and lame karate bouts? The slick, seat-gripping action sequences are Colombiana’s biggest strengths, and with Saldana wearing next to nothing while she jumps off building evading bullets, you just might like the film.