Movie Review: Colombiana


When a bad guy gets gunned down by another bad guy in the movies, it’s usually high fives all around. But not for poor little Cataleya Restrepo, left to fend for herself after the death of her parents by a Columbian drug lord her father had just broken ties with. The rest of Colombiana is grownup Cataleya mowing down everyone who had ever known said drug lord. What, you were expecting more?

Characters and Crew Of Colombiana

Main Cast:

  • Zoe Saldana as Cataleya Restrepo/Cat
  • 崖叔 (Yá Shū) / Lennie James as Emilio Restrepo
  • Jess Liaudin as Marco Ramirez
  • Beto Benites as Don Luis Sandoval


  • Director: Olivier Megaton
  • Writers: Olivier Megaton, Luc Besson, Robert Ben Garant
  • Producers: Luc Besson, Virginie Sillaret

Sadly, Colombiana feels like Luc Besson ripped off Luc Besson. He’s taken this scenario — a girl itching to get even — and worked wonders with it in Leon: The Professional and La Femme Nikita. This film required a firm, steady hand in order to balance characters and action, so pairing a story by Besson with director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) might have been a bad idea; the subtlety of Besson’s storytelling got lost in Megaton’s wham-bam action. In Colombiana, we get no sense of who Cat is, except an extremely emotionally damaged young woman with a serious axe to grind. She spends her days gunning down bad guys for pay — hey, somebody has to shell out so she can afford those Christian Louboutin heels — and her off-hours picking off the guys responsible for the death of her parents. Cat is supposed to be an anti-hero, a woman you root for as she gets closer and closer to the goal of wiping those scumbags off the face of the earth. But since her dad was a bad guy too — he was the cartel leader’s guy for “wet work” — Cat didn’t draw me in to her vendetta. And with no time spent on developing her as a character, I wasn’t rooting for Cataleya to beat the bad guys, I was more an impartial observer watching to see if she’d complete her task.

Meanwhile, “Boyfriend” (or in this case, “guy she pops in on for the occasional boink”) Danny obviously has issues of his own; he knows nothing about this woman except that she’s able to sneak into his loft at any time, and that she’s smokin’ hot. But hey, he loves her. Guess it really does do all the thinking for a guy sometimes. As far as the bad guys go, they’re interchangeable bowling pins Cataleya knocks down one by one. But watching her wrap up her body-count to-do list is a whole lot of fun. Cat obviously orders her unitards from Mission Impossible ‘R Us, all the better to remind everyone that Zoe Saldana is a hot chick.

Colombiana Trailer

The times that drew me in were when real action took center stage. The fight choreography is beautiful, as you’d expect from Besson. Explosions are beautiful fire art, guns rip chunks out of the walls and leave smoking after-effects, and the hand-to-hand combat? Amazing. I thought I noticed a move or two from the Brazilian martial art capoeira, but the action moves so quickly it was hard to tell. Whatever it was, it was brilliantly paced and the actors do a great job of it. If this movie had inserted a bit of real connection to Cat and her parents, something that would have made me want to see her happy and her parents avenged, Colombiana would have been something special. Instead, it’s a popcorn movie with great action sequences that teaches the audience that you can never move past your past. Kind of a bummer.

You can save yourself the $10.50 and just watch the trailer over and over again. You’ll get all the beauty of the stunts, explosions and fight choreography and none of the emotional connection to the characters. Which you won’t get watching the entire film either, so you won’t lose anything but seeing that dude two aisles ahead of you text during the whole film. No great loss.

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