The plot: “A young woman, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.” – IMDB
My thoughts: Admittedly, I’m a bit biased toward this film considering a few things…
A. I love Luc Besson and everything he does.
B. I love movies with strong female leads.
C. I love movies where people got shit and shit gets blown up.
D. I love movies in which people seek justice in a particular badass fashion.
So obviously, I liked this movie.
Besson presents us with another awesome female lead who can pack a punch and is also a wonderfully relatable character (come on, you’d have to be a meat popsicle to not feel for Mathilda or LeeLoo Dallas Multipass!) We first meet Cataleya as a young girl (played by Amandla Stenberg and we see what a strong-willed and talented girl she is. We get a nice background through the 30 minutes we spend with the younger version of Cataleya before meeting Zoe Saldana’s grown up version.
Okay, so yeah, the plot might be a bit predictable. It’s a revenge-based action flick, what was anyone expecting? There’s no big twist or reveal, it’s just us rooting for Cataleya to get the bastards who killed her family. The entire opening sequence where we get to see what a badass she is is actually brilliant. In about 10 minutes we see that she spent the last 15 years training hard to become an amazing killer.
Michael Vartan’s character was there to soften Cataleya, but to be honest, I didn’t think he was necessary. I mean, I enjoyed it because he’s a complete fox and I’ve missed having him on my TV for the last few years, but her family in Chicago and her history already made her a character easy to sympathize with. Having a love interest didn’t really help to develop her.
The soundtrack was also scrumptious. A track called “The Fade Out Line” by Phoebe Killdeer and the Short Straws was definitely a standout. It was especially sultry and seems very 60s but as it happens was released only this year. However, at the end, I was a bit irritated to hear that they used Johnny Cash’s (not at all superior) cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”. (This is about to turn into a personal rant for a second. You’ve been warned.) I hate the love that NIN’s original doesn’t get. Trent Reznor’s voice is heartbreaking – gutwrenching even! But everyone just loses their mind over Johnny Cash because he’s old, singing a fucked up song by a decidedly different kind of artist. But I think it’s bullshit. Anyway.
As per usual, the combat/weapon scenes were perfect. I have a lot of respect for directors, cinematographers, and fight scene coordinators who make scenes of complete and utter violence so beautiful and smooth – obviously not what a fight really is. I was also really impressed with how creative some of the kills were, which Besson has a penchant for. Sure, he has awesome gun action, but he throws in some weird stuff in there that makes for particularly interesting scenes.
If you like Besson or films of this type, I definitely recommend it. Zoe’s great in it. Despite the predictable plot, it’s still really enjoyable and keeps you interested. And if the words “colombiana” and “remember where you came from” being said about two dozen times in the trailer deterred you, don’t let it. I don’t think they’re said once in the movie.