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With: Zoe Saldana, Jordi Molla, Lennie James, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis
Written by: Luc Besson
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language
Running Time: 107
Date: 07/27/2011

Colombiana (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Revenger Girl

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though producer/writer Luc Besson has endorsed a stable of good action directors over the years, Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) is one of the most bombastic; his action is a little less slick and a little harder than that of his colleagues. In Colombiana, Besson and Megaton have focused on a female character shaped by violence as a young girl, and grown into an adult life of irredeemable killing and revenge; this scenario automatically brings a bit more weight to the picture than Besson is used to or that Megaton can handle.

As a nine year-old, Cataleya sees her mother and father killed by Colombian kingpins. She escapes to Chicago, where she is raised by her gangster uncle (Cliff Curtis). She grows up with a thirst for revenge and killing; she becomes a contract killer, but carries out her secret revenge on the side, leaving calling cards -- a drawing of an orchid -- in the hopes of reaching the big boss. Unfortunately, Special Agent Ross (Lennie James) is hot on her trail, and she has made the mistake of finding a part-time boyfriend in artist Danny Delanay (Michael Vartan).

Overall, the movie has enough clever chases, break-ins, and escapes -- not to mention a sweet, small tragic romance -- to make it worthwhile. It has at least three good scenes, but this is not one of Besson's stronger efforts. It's by turns effective, silly, and sluggish, sometimes forgetting the usual slick, lightweight mood of Besson's best films. Colombiana has a great deal in common with Besson's La Femme Nikita and The Professional, but lacking in the former's pathos and the latter's warmth.
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