The problem with Colombiana is (and don't you just love film reviews that start off as such) the lack of fun anyone involved with the film seems to be having. In any good action movie (or in any action movie that wishes to be good) there needs to be not only a sense of urgency (which this film does have - for the most part) but also a sense of fun. Now this fun need not be necessarily in what the characters are doing (of course much of the plots of any action film involve dire, life-and-death situations - not exactly playtime) but more in the essence of the film itself. In such popular actioners as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys and the Bourne series, even though there is pulse-pounding (in theory) action going on throughout, the films never take themselves so seriously as to be a downer instead of the upper the genre is supposed to (again, in theory) be.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that in order to improve, and there is definitely room for improvement, Colombiana should just lighten the fuck up. Perhaps director Olivier Megaton (yeah, that's his name, ya gotta problem wit dat?) need not go full out Grindhouse like say, Machete (a fun movie indeed), but he does need to relax and have a bit of fun with his action film. And I suppose this lack of apparent fun gets an extra bit of criticism due to the fact that Luc Besson, a man who knows all too well how to make an action flick seem like fun, wrote and produced the film (or at least co-wrote and produced) for his apparent new protoge. But even Besson's touch - a touch that gave both La Femme Nikita and The Professional so much audacious enjoyability - can do nothing to save this film from falling into that oh so full pit of mainstream moviemaking mediocrity.
Then again, the film, even with its overly harped upon lack of fun (I'll shut up about that now - I promise), does have its good points, and one should point out such highlights for fear of being branded a Debbie Downer of sorts. The best point I suppose is star Zoe Saldana. Known mainly for her roles as the updated Lt. Uhuru in J.J. Abrams equally updated Star Trek and the blue-skinned light of Sam Worthington's life in James Cameron's overblown, overstuffed and overestimated megahit Avatar, Saldana looks appropriately slinky and sexy (the French do know how to do that) as the titular assassin out for revenge. A blend of Lara Croft and Beatrix Kiddo, though not reaching the heights (or depths) of either, Saldana's sultry killer elite could also act as a saving grace of the film if she were only given a bit more meat to bite off.
She does look great though as we watch her brilliantly kill her target while both are locked in different cells (and different floors) of a police station. This scene acts as the tense centerpiece, and really only well-done scene in the whole damn film. The rest just plays out as typical action movie fodder, complete with Saldana's over-reaching at times and thus seeming a bit over the top - but not necessarily in the good Nick Cage kinda way. But still, what the film needs, and I am breaking my promise here but it is such an important missing piece that it needs to be harped on just one more time, is to have a little more fun dammit. [09/03/11]