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Columbiana: A Revenge Film, As One Might Expect

Director: Olivier Megaton
Screenplay: Luc Besson, valeologist Robert Mark Kamen
Release Date:August 26, diabetes and pregnancy 2011
Actors: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan and Callum Blue

All the previews for “Columbiana” look exciting and intense. When I first saw the trailer to the film at a showing of “Thor”, I was instantly intrigued. A girl getting revenge, by way of skill and execution? That’s different. My favorite revenge film by far is the Korean gem “Oldboy”. It was uniquely disturbing on not only a physical level, but a psychological level. I didn’t find there to be anything unique about “Columbiana” at all, but I got exactly what I expected, which was a nice surprise.

Zoe Saldana plays Catalia, a young Columbian girl who sees her parents get killed in front of her by Dom Louis. In the midst of the chaos, as the young Catalia, she manages to survive and flees to Chicago to meet up with her uncle.

Little detail is given about what information her father gave to his boss, and what exactly is Dom Louis’ profession except for a few soft mentions of the exchange of drugs is all that is revealed. The purpose is that her parents are dead and now she wants to become an assassin. Essentially, we jump from young Catalia to wanting to become a killer, years later as Zoe Saldana actually executing criminals to bring out Dom Louise.

We are introduced to her boy plaything, Ben, played by Michael Vartan (who seems to have disappeared from film and television lately), who is the only person that keeps her tethered to a life of any normalcy. And I say “normalcy” quite loosely since Catalia reveals next to nothing about herself and never even goes on a real date with the guy.

I liked the lack of blood in the film, because it can sometimes taint what would otherwise be a fantastic film (which is how I feel about the most recent revenge film out of Korea “I Saw the Devil”). There are several sly sequences in which Catalia takes out her prey that is sure to please any film goer that likes a cleverly written trap. Columbiana focuses on entertaining and not the plausible. It’s not a film that tries to ascend to any new levels, but simply delivers what one might expect. A film about a girl who kicks ass and is out for blood.

I was a bit apprehensive prior to seeing the film, due to the lack of number of reviews released for “Columbiana”. Sometimes the studio does not want a film to be screened to the press for fear that there will be a lot of negative press. In this case, I didn’t have anything to worry about. It was as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be.

There were a few scenes that had me going “Really?”, as to how implausible and ridiculous a few scenes that were supposed to be taken seriously but were really rather silly. I glazed over them, because, after all, it IS Hollywood. I think they were supposed to take the edge or seriousness off the film, but as a result, it made it much more unrealistic.

However, as a regular run-of-the-mill revenge film “Columbiana” wasn’t bad, just not very memorable. Seems like the critics disliked it even more, but as a regular average movie-goer, I don’t know why the strong distaste. I guess they went in with higher expectations due to the fact that they were hoping more from Luc Besson, who brought the fantastic movie “Taken” that essentially brought Liam Neeson’s career back to life.

Recommended for a fun shoot ’em up movie, brought to you by Zoe Saldana. Fun, but nothing all that memorable. 2.5 Catalinas / 5 Catalinas


If you liked this movie I would recommend:
An even better one: Oldboy (Warning: Must read subtitles!)

Watch the Trailer:

Comment about the trailer: Honestly, I thought the trailer was kind of stupid. You would have thought the movie should have been called “Never forget where you came from” by the way the trailer was spliced together.

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