30 08 2011

Somewhere inside Colombiana, there is a good movie to be found. However, the movie that I saw this weekend was not it. While it tries hard to entertain the audience, it never even comes close to living up to its full potential.

The most important thing you need to know about Colombiana is that very little of it makes sense. Cataleya (Zoe Saldana), watched her mother and father get murdered in front of her eyes in Colombia. Her father was a drug lord, and made some very powerful people angry.

Improbably, Cataleya then travels to Chicago, where she finds her uncle, who is also involved in the drug trade. In an even more extraordinary turn of fate, she tells her uncle that she wants to learn how to kill people instead of going to elementary school. Just like any good uncle, he tells her that he would be happy to train her.


Then, to demonstrate how willing he is to train her in the art of assassination, he pulls out a gun on a crowded Chicago street, empties a round of bullets into a randomly passing car, and then asks her if she really wants to follow through with it. Despite there being hundreds of witnesses, Cataleya and her uncle walk away without being stopped by the police. How does that work?

After that, things get progressively crazier – in a bad way. The movie is riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies, and there were many moments when I had to ask the characters, “Why aren’t you thinking like a normal person?”

In one scene, for example, Cataleya has to murder a criminal who is being held at her local police station. To do this, she gets herself arrested. Then, once she is in her cell inside of the police station, she crawls through a conveniently placed vent system that is large enough for her to crawl through (who knew they had accessible vents inside of each and every prison cell?). Then, she kills her target with a pistol and returns to her cell before anybody notices that something is wrong.

And, somehow, the entire camera system inside of the police station did not capture a single frame of Cataleya crawling around, even though we see a camera pointing at the very spot that Cataleya walked through. In a movie that is largely about the skill of an assassin, I would prefer for it to be based on ingenious stunts and trickery, as opposed to silly plot holes and conveniently placed objects.


There are a few things to like about Colombiana, and they deserve to be mentioned. Zoe Saldana acts well. And, if it weren’t for the horrible writing, her character would be much more entertaining to watch. Some of the action sequences are also cool, but they are few and far between.

There are a lot of bad movies that have the potential to be great. Colombiana is certainly one of them. The idea of a beautiful female assassin prowling the streets of Chicago, taking out her vengeance on wrongdoers is intriguing. Unfortunately, neither the production value nor the dialogue is there to flesh out this idea.

As it stands, the most entertaining part of the movie for many people will be watching Zoe Saldana crawl around in a skin-tight bodysuit. While this isn’t a bad thing, it certainly will not keep anybody entertained for the movie’s two hour duration. For that reason, Colombiana ends up feeling like one big chaotic mess.

2 stars out of 5