Now Playing: ‘Colombiana’ Has Familiar Action Scenes, Even More Familiar Story

Writer/producer/director Luc Besson is often hit-or-miss. Although not always the case, if he writes and produces a screenplay but doesn’t direct the film (as happened here), it’s usually a “miss.” While ‘Colombiana’ isn’t quite a miss, it sure isn’t a “hit” either.

Zoe Saldana plays a grown-up Colombian refugee who watched her parents slaughtered by an angry cartel boss. As a nine-year-old, she turned over helpful information to the DEA and received United States citizenship. Once stateside, she found her uncle, began assassin training, and now, 15 years later, is hunting the men responsible for murdering her parents.

Admittedly, I enjoy more Besson flicks than most other critics. I can see through the corny fluff and find entertainment in the indulgent popcorn fun. Unfortunately, ‘Colombiana’ is bogged down more than it’s lifted up. Where Besson’s films usually lack in story, they exceed in stylized action. But ‘Colombiana’ doesn’t function that way. Both the story and the action resemble elements that you’ve already seen in other, much better films of the genre.

In once scene, Saldana disarms and takes down a thug with a towel – something we’ve already seen Jason Bourne do. In another scene, she blows a hole in an apartment wall and slides down the to the basement below – something we already saw in ‘The Matrix’. In a scene after that, she blasts her way into a compound in a way that resembles the climax of ‘The Expendables’. The very fact that Zoe’s young character began assassin training at a young age in order to hunt her parents’ murderer is a recycled dynamic from another Luc Besson film: ‘Léon: The Professional’.

While I don’t know director Oliver Megaton personally, I get the impression that he spent more time trying to find logistical ways to get away with showing Zoe Saldana’s nipples in a PG-13 movie than he tried to come up with cool action sequences. Let’s he honest; most people are seeing a PG-13 movie like this for mindless action, not non-stop nipple shots. If ‘Colombiana’ were R-rated, that might be a different story.

If you want to see Saldana’s nipples in a film that feels like a clip show of every cool action movie ever made, then you’ll enjoy ‘Colombiana’ well enough. If not, get ready for a clichéd movie that you’ve already seen before.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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