Zoe Saldana plays an assassin who goes after a Colombian drug cartel in Colombiana.

Zoe Saldana plays an assassin who goes after a Colombian drug cartel in Colombiana.

Aisle Seat: Film tries for style over substance

Colombiana: Two-and-a-half stars out of five

  • Sep. 23, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Another time, another era, perhaps Colombiana would’ve been a decent action flick.  But this movie suffers from such a bad case of been-there-done-that, it feels like it’s firing nothing but blanks.

Written and produced by Luc Besson, who has made some decent adrenaline treats like The Professional, The Transporter, and Taken, not to mention the surprisingly good District 13, Colombiana is textbook “payback” fare: the kind of project that Eastwood devoured,  Schwarzenegger banked on and Bronson made a career of. Good to see, at the very least, that Besson supports recycling.

Granted, Zoe Saldana (Avatar) does everything she can with the lead role. As a sexy assassin obsessed with rubbing out the Colombian crime cartel who gunned down her parents when she was a child, Saldana leaves her calling card on a heap of victims with a lipstick drawing of an orchid.

And yes, admittedly, that’s kinda cool.

So obviously, there’s a lot of style involved in the delivery of Colombiana, and predictably, substance suffers because of it.

Directed by Olivier Megaton (c’mon, is that your real name, dude?), Colombiana dangles the very sexy Saldana in underwear/tight-fitting bodysuits as often as possible. Why? I suppose because it can. Doesn’t add to the proceedings all that much, with the exception that, yeah, she’s pretty easy on the eyes. But if that’s the primary goal, I have one word for Besson and Megaton – Catwoman.

The plan didn’t work with Halle Berry, what makes you think it’ll work here?

The action scenes are decent though, even if Colombiana is a little too chatty.  And again, the story doesn’t beat on any new ground that hasn’t already been pummelled by similar fare. Just last summer, Angelina Jolie was kicking butt and taking names in Salt.

I like Saldana, and I appreciate her effort here to make Colombiana more than it should be. What it is, unfortunately, is very, very basic.

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Armstrong is The Morning Star’s film reviewer. His column, Aisle Seat, runs every Friday and Sunday.