By Bret Dorman
Luc Besson directed some awesome stuff (The Professional, The Fifth Element) and then he just sort of stopped. He still writes movies (often with help by writing partner Robert Mark Kamen) for other people to direct.
Like The Transporter series. Transporter was directed by Martial Arts Choreographer Cory Yuen and it was pretty cool. Transporter 2 was directed by Luis Leterrier and it capitalized on Statham’s badassery. Transporter 3 was directed by Olivier Megaton and it sucked.
Now let’s look at Taken. Awesome movie directed by Pierre Morel. A great, slightly absurd, tight action oriented script with a strong lead. Want another great, slightly absurd, tight action script with a strong lead? Colombiana. One problem… Olivier Megaton directed it.
The Story: Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the murder of her family and escapes near death and goes to Chicago (Represent!). Then Cataleya grows up to be a super sexy assassin. Now Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) has all the tools she needs… to get revenge! Also, she has some dogs.
Columbiana is not a smart movie. It does some really stupid things, especially with technology and firing guns in public spaces. It features a lone assassin who treasures a family she doesn’t spend time with aka Uncle Restrepo (Cliff Curtis) and doesn’t let anyone into her life aka Danny (Michael Vartan). She doesn’t like bad guys because they are bad but likes killing them because she gets lots of money for it. She also REALLY doesn’t like Don Luis and Marco (Beto Benites and Jordi Molla), because they killed her family.
Sound familiar? Yeah. It’s because it’s an assassin movie. By Luc Besson. What did you expect? Its silly and goofy and contrived but its exactly what it needs to be. Why waste time trying to write a movie around technology and logic when you can manipulate them into an entertaining script?
Problem is two things. Olivier Megaton can not direct an ‘action’ scene. Too many times in this movie does an action-y moment happen and then we just get the whole CRAZY CAMERA! and fast editing to trick us into thinking we’ve seen some action. Sorry, no dice.
The second thing is the movie starts off Adult Cataleya’s life with a really nice intricate assassination scene in which Cataleya displays great prowess with feline like sexiness. She is almost supernatural to a degree. Exactly the kind of cinematic assassin we expect from a Besson-related movie. Then, the second assassination we see less of her and more of her aftermath. Then the third and final one is basically just an all out action scene.
I get the whole “She can be anywhere anytime she is like a ghost you won’t see her coming” and then BLAM-O! she attacks by shooting her way in the front door. It would be nice to see her shoot a rocket in the compound and create a mess, but then sneak around in the confusion. Instead all we get is her popping into frame or appearing in impossible place instead of showing us how she does it. The first scene sets up the fact she can, but I want to see her doing it all throughout.
If you don’t like Colombiana as an action movie, you may enjoy it as the Zoe Saldana is Unbelievably Sexy Show. Here are some of the things she does in this movie: Dress in sexy skimpy clothes, undress, dress in sexy tight catsuit, suck on a sucker, dress in sexy normal clothes, have sex, dress in sexy underwear/undershirt, sexily dance alone for no reason, and carry a huge gun as big as herself… but in a sexy way (see below).
In Conclusion, I really enjoyed what Colombiana had to offer and was willing to forgive all its flaws, but as the movie turns more into generic action territory and less into cool assassination territory it kind of lost me. Either way, the point of this movie, is Zoe Saldana is sexy.