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Movie Review: "Colombiana" (2011)

Updated on January 20, 2012

"Colombiana" is the story of an orphaned girl who witnesses the murder of her parents and grows up to avenge them. I think I liked this movie better when it was called "The Professional" -- You know, when it was done more realistically. I'll explain.

The film opens with a title sequence that looks like it was lifted from one of those 'Bourne Identity' movies. The main character is Cataleya (Zoe Saldana). In the beginning of the film, she's just a little girl; we learn that her father is involved in the drug business and he happens to find himself in big trouble... which leads to he and his wife getting killed. Sound familiar yet?

Baby Geniuses

Nevermind the 'Bourne Identity' opening titles, the real red flag doesn't occur until our little cute Cataleya starts doing things that are unrealistic. After killing her parents, one of the murderers tries to interrogate her for some vital information over a dining table. Cateleya grabs a knife that is strapped underneath the table and stabs him in the hand, allowing her to escape.

Why is there a knife strapped beneath the dining table? How did her parents know that it would come in handy in such a situation like that? The truth is that the knife isn't supposed to be there, it's a little movie magic called: Plot Convenience. It was invented for "Colombiana" because the writer couldn't think of a better way to get Cataleya out of such a situation. What if the knife were just sitting on the table right beneath a newspaper? Now that would have been more plausible.

But no, the writer decided that Cataleya was going to turn into some kind of superhero... or should I say Leon from "The Professional"? Anyways, immediately after stabbing Generic Foreign Bad Guy, Cataleya jumps out the window and a ridiculous chase sequence ensues that involves Cataleya scaling walls, fences, and leaping from rooftop to rooftop. Remember, this is a little girl we're talking about here. When the mental image of a little girl doing things like this comes to mind, I can only think of three things:

  • "Home Alone 5: Lost in Colombia"
  • "The Karate Kid 2: Assassin's Creed"
  • and "Tomb Raider: The Early Years"

The latter isn't actually far-fetched when you watch the rest of this turd... I mean movie. Anyway, my point being is that this escape/chase scene is way too unrealistic. Again, I will use "The Professional" (which this film is so desperately striving to be on certain levels) as an example -- When Matilda's (Natalie Portman) parents are murdered by the corrupt DEA officers, she isn't even in the apartment when it happens. She returns home from the grocery store and hides in Leon's (the hitman) apartment next door.

Never did we see Matilda karate chopping Gary Oldman in the balls and web-slinging, I mean jumping, on top of the Empire State Building. Anyway, Cataleya runs to the local CIA office where her father had a connection with one of the agents. She provides him a disc that the bad guys were after and this earns her a passport to the United States. Actually, she evades the government escorts at the airport and ends up buying her own plane ticket to Chicago where her uncle lives.

Once in Chicago, she learns that her relatives are also trained gunners like her father. She then decides she wants to be trained as a killer at a young age so she can avenge her family (once again, sound familiar?). What follows next is yet another unrealistic scene, I swear to God it belongs in a 'Naked Gun' comedy...

Her uncle decides to prove a point by pulling out a gun on a public street right outside a school and starts shooting up everything in sight. The lesson? If you want to be a trained killer, you have to be smart first before you even pull a trigger, so you must go to school. Whatever, uncle, the problem is you just brought a whole lot of unwanted attention to yourself by shooting a gun in public. It doesn't take long for the police to arrive either, yet good ol' uncle and Catalaya walk away unnoticed. Whether this movie was written for retards or not, I'm not buying this crap.

Come to think of it, she does look like Lara Croft here.
Come to think of it, she does look like Lara Croft here. | Source

Catwoman Returns

The next scene shows us Cataleya as a fully grown woman taking on the guise of a drunk woman who gets arrested. Long story short, she turns out to be on some kind of Lara Croft mission... Wait, I mean secret government mission. This registers when she starts stripping away her disguise and dons a catsuit under dim-lighting, then she starts doing all this stereotypical Female Secret Agent nonsense (Black Widow anyone?).

Then we see her do more scaling, running, and jumping off rooftops. What is this, a sequel to "Catwoman"? I think the main reason this movie was made was just so that the filmmakers had an excuse to make money off of the allure that the sexy and sultry Zoe Saldana is playing a catsuit-donning secret agent who disrobes quite often. It's a dirty, sleazy marketing gimmick.

I don't even think I need to discuss what happens in the rest of this movie as it is painfully obvious. Long story short, Cataleya sets out to kill the people who murdered her parents... and she eventually succeeds. Plain and simple. All they did was throw in lots of explosions, high-tech gadgets, and expensive dwellings to make it seem like it's really more than what it is.

You don't have to be a scientist to figure out why they made this shot a "close up".
You don't have to be a scientist to figure out why they made this shot a "close up". | Source

Got Eye Candy?

Speaking of marketing and gimmicks, I think Hollywood stuffed this one up really good. It's not too hard to notice that they've carefully put together all of the typical entrapments in place for male audiences. I'll try to cover as many as I can here:

  • A shower scene.
  • An interracial sex scene.
  • Zoe Saldana sucking on a lollipop while cleaning a pistol.
  • Zoe Saldana in skintight catsuits.
  • Zoe Saldana in a skimpy top with tight denim shorts.
  • Zoe Saldana in a bathing suit, quietly swimming past a bunch of sharks in a pool.
  • Zoe Saldana donning a white beater, pajama shorts, and a very large gun as tries to escape a SWAT team raid on her apartment (and once again... sound familiar?).

And the list goes on, but I'm about to vomit from this mess of a movie so I think I'll stop there. Seriously, why not just make this a porno flick instead? When take away everything else in this movie, that's all it really is -- soft-core porn.


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    • SPomposello profile image

      SPomposello 6 years ago from NY

      Ahh ok, I see where you are coming from. My apologies for taking it the wrong way. Well, that's just the way the review turned out, I'm very passionate about this, as you can see. As for the spoilers, I'm going to begin implementing a short disclaimer at the beginning of every review.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      Well I have to say that I don't disagree with any of your points. However, I don't know if I'd say it was that bad of a movie though, as I thought it was okay. Not a great action film, but borderline decent for what it attempts to be.

      I think the biggest problem with this film is that it tries to be as deep and as serious as other action films like "Bourne Identity", but the over top unrealistic action sequences that you mentioned kind of kill that credibility a bit. Which is why I tend to think the director and writers didn't exactly know where they were going with this movie.

      Although, I do agree with nasake in the sense that you might want to work on not giving away too much in your review. But then again, that's also part of why I like your way of writing, as it reminds me a lot of the Nostalgia Critic's style where you'll literally rip to shreds every facet of why a bad movie is bad, and I personally wouldn't want to see it change. But that's just me.

      Maybe you should do what "carl the critic" does on here, where he always gives out a warning next to the title of each hub he publishes saying that there will be spoilers. This way guys like Nasake won't have anything to complain about.

      Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks again for another great read, as I always enjoy reading your reviews.

    • nasake profile image

      nasake 6 years ago from England

      yeah i know. i wasn't getting at you mate ;) over here in the UK its still in cinema's. in fact, they've only just started advertising it. I wasn't insulting your style, its just that that review seemed a bit over-opinionated compared to your others, thats all ;)

      Recently i have read multiple posts on how to write movie reviews, and all of them say a huge trap that flaw peoples reviews is the fact that they give spoilers... even if the film is twenty years old. I was just trying to pass on what i had learned. Sorry if i offended you in anyway, it wasn't intentional.

    • SPomposello profile image

      SPomposello 6 years ago from NY


      Spoilers? This movie came out in August and you're complaining about spoilers? Another thing... Listen, if you have a problem with MY style of reviewing, that's too bad, write your own review. Whether or not you realize it, this movie has problems and is an insult to the senses. I guess you missed all the comparisons I made with "The Professional"? And if you haven't been paying attention to the film market during the last 5-7 years or so, copying from older films seems to be what's in now (unfortunately).

    • nasake profile image

      nasake 6 years ago from England

      This is not a review it's a rant on why you hated the movie. There are too many spoilers for this review to be plausible.