‘Colombiana’: all action, little plot
Todd Miller Collegio Writer
Speaking of plot, let’s look at it. The movie is about Cataleya (Zoe Saldana), a Colombian woman out for revenge against a drug cartel after she watched her parents die when she was young.
Cataleya flees to Chicago, to her uncle Marco (Jordi Mollê). She tells him she wants to become “a killer,” so he teaches her to be one. Fifteen years later, Cataleya is an assassin, seeking revenge against Don Luis (Beto Benites) and his crew. However, FBI agent Ross (Lennie James) is also after Cataleya after she killed 23 people.
As expected, there are some problems with the plot, but I think the most unbelievable part takes place in the first quarter of the film when she is young (Amandla Sternberg is the “Young Cataleya”). The film starts out pretty real, showing the kind of real life that some people in the world live. But, the 9-year-old started doing acrobatic pirouettes off the handle and I began to become disengaged in the film’s reality. The same thing when the 9-year-old managed to evade government officials and run away to Chicago without getting caught.
Further disbelief involves the uncle Marco character. He seems hesitant to teach Cataleya to be a killer, and his character seems to revolve around telling Cataleya not to do what she wants to. However, at no point does he ever truly want to talk young
Cataleya out of it. I can’t imagine a situation in which assisting a young girl’s request to kill people is a good decision.
This hiccup aside, the film’s realism depends on what you’re watching at the moment. The plot-heavy segments are nicely done and can be accepted easily as realistic (with some minor suspension of disbelief). The more action-heavy parts are more difficult to believe and usually follow the often-used rule of “do it because it looks cool.”
Cataleya either has incredible luck or is dealing with the dumbest guards available (maybe that was part of her training).
FBI agent Ross and his people also suffer from some incompetency problems. I easily noticed it coming when, in an early scene, Ross says that the killer they’re after isn’t a woman and offers no explanation for this belief.
Secondly, whenever Cataleya kills someone, she draws a cataleya orchid in lipstick on their chest, hoping the police would release the information to the news and catch the attention of Don Luis. However, nobody on Cataleya’s case seems to be able to tell it’s an orchid and instead believes it’s some kind of weird symbol. It took a janitor in agent Ross’ office to tell Ross what the drawing was, allowing him to close in on Cataleya. Of course, the janitor is never seen after that; he got his one deus ex line and left.
Also, try not to watch the action scenes too closely if you have trouble with motion sickness. The camera flings all different ways during these (again hardly believable) portions of the movie. Due to this, I couldn’t make sense of the final action sequence until it was over. I’m not usually one to suffer motion sickness, but this scene had even me feeling a bit ill.
Bottom line: If you want an action-heavy film and you don’t want to think about it, then “Colombiana” would be as good a choice as any.