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Colombiana - Blu-ray Review

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Colombiana - Blu-ray Review

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2 stars

With a “whatever they’re paying you, I’ll double it” half-baked mentality, Colombiana offers virtually no surprises in the overstuffed female-as-action-star genre that could be so much more than what it currently is.  Actioneer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) is onboard as producer but his kinetic presence is largely unfelt in what goes down as a by-the-numbers film that is full of holes in its plot and its logic.  Saved solely by a solid performance from Zoë Saldana, this French-American excursion is certainly a bit of a letdown.

Written by Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, Colombiana is essentially one long tale of revenge.  When a child, Cataleya Restrepo (played early on by Amandla Stenberg), watches as her parents are brutally gunned down by agents of the drug lord Don Luis (Beto Benites) in Bogota, she flees to safety and eventually arrives in America to be raised by her uncle, Emilio (Cliff Curtis), in Chicago.

Her one burning desire?  To kill and kill again until revenge is enacted and her soul is at peace.

Thankfully, her uncle is also in the assassin training business.  He makes a deal with her: go to school, play normal, and he will teach her how to become a hitwoman.  Fifteen years later, Cataleya (now Saldana), is Colombiana and Don Luis is her intended target.  Damn the consequences.

Directed by Olivier Megaton (The Transporter), the material of Colombiana should never be taken seriously.  The problem with the film is that it does exactly that; there are far too many sappy moments where Colombiana reaches out to attempt a normal dating life with men, but – in the context of the movie – they play more as a joke to see how many times Saldana can make tears happen and remove her clothes.  According to Megaton, he considers Colombiana more of a drama…which is a flawed interpretation of awhat is essentially a B-movie actioneer.

The dramatic aspects Megaton is playing to are not interesting.  When the film opens with a child ramming a knife into a man’s palm, the audience isn’t expected to make the leap and actually care about Cataleya.  We just want to see some ass get kicked.  When the film does open up to show some character in the adult Cataleya, it chooses to display ridiculous scenes of her dancing in her apartment and staring at an unfinished painting.  She’s a renaissance man, get it?  It’s a joke because those moments simply weigh the film down into a disappointing hybrid where a weaker Taken-like script mates with The Transporter and mistakes itself as the second coming of The Professional (also a Besson film).

When the action kicks in, Saldana kicks ass like one of the boys.  She’s dainty but carries herself with cat-like grace and performs well enough to sell her earned skills.  That’s the mojo of the film.  We want her to kick ass.  We want her to deliver her brand of revenge.  We want it to be over-the-top and exciting.  The action scenes are exactly that; it’s the getting there that sucks.

Colombiana is, most certainly, a spin-off of the type of films Besson has made in the past and, essentially, made a career out of.  Knowing that beforehand helps in digesting the film.  It’s disappointing that he and Megaton could not have found a different way to spin a gravity-defying heroine-led tale.  While Colombiana does have some guilty pleasures (much to do with sharks and dogs who kill on command), the film only rises to the surface because of Saldana’s presence.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Colombiana - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language.
Director
: Olivier Megaton
Writer: Luc Besson
Cast:
Zoe Saldana; Jordi Molla; Lennie James; Michael Vartan; Cliff Curtis
Genre
: Action; Crime ; Drama
Tagline:
Revenge is Beautiful.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Never forget where you came from."
Theatrical Distributor:
Tri-Star Pictures
Home Video Distributor:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Official Site:
www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/colombiana
Release Date: August 26, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 20, 2011

Synopsis: A young woman, after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Colombiana - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 20, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; BD-Live
Playback: Region A

Sony’s blu-rays are killer material.  Pun intended.  Colombiana’s 1080p treatment is no different.  Ripe with a warm palette that practically blisters from the heat, the film crackles with fine detail in faces to clothing and defines the film’s locations with an unmatched clarity.  Through it all, the colors are vibrant and shimmy with a rich luster reserved solely for diamonds and other expensive things.  The yellow hue that anchors the film is like fine gold.  Black levels are consistently inky and never bleed into the other images.  Even the many explosions are detail heavy.  There is also a heavy texture gradating throughout which makes for a stunning film experience.  With a bass-heavy DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack in tow, the quality of the blu-ray more than makes up for the weakness of the film.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Filmed in three different countries, Colombiana’s special features are also highlights of the release.  There are a couple of featurettes that discuss the making of the film and its locations and the (laughable) dramatic moments of the film. Remember, Megaton considers this film dramatic?  Watch for the proof.  If only it wasn’t so undercooked, right?  One featurette deals with the arc of the Cataleya’s journey. Another looks at her skills and discusses the casting of Saldana.  Overall, some good material that attempts to give unnecessary weight to an inconsequential film.

  • Colombiana: Making Of (25 min)
  • Cataleya's Journey (10 min)
  • Assassins (12 min)
  • Training a Killer (6 min)
  • Take the Ride (8 min)

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