Cattleya is one of the most beautiful orchids known to man. It is also the name of the main character of Colombiana, played by Zoe Saldana. The spelling of Zoe Saldanas characters name (Cataleya) slightly differs from that of the orchid, however, that is not the only difference between the main character and the flower. Beautiful like the flower, Cataleya packs a punch that is most certainly missing as a characteristic in the flower. Zoe Saldana, for the lack of a better phrase, kicks ass in Colombiana.
Colombiana is the story of Cataleya, who witnessed the murder of her mother and father, and her vindictive journey from childhood to adulthood, to avenge her parents’ death. Her father Fabio, was in business with a drug lord in Bogota, Colombia. He decides to leave the business, which turned to be an ill-fated decision, as it cost him his life and the life of his wife. The beautiful little flower Cataleya escapes the wrath of the drug lord and escapes to Chicago per her father’s instructions, with an unknown computer chip. Upon coming to Chicago, she tells her Uncle Emilio (played by Cliff Curtis) that she wants to be a killer. Not such an innocent little flower anymore. I did find her agility and ability to escape somewhat uncanny considering she was just a child. How did she learn these defense mechanisms? She is just a little girl.
The film then transitions to Cataleya as an adult, who has already morphed into a perfected killer. I feel that there could have been more character development, as the story jumps from her adolescence to her being an assasin. How was she trained? Her Uncle obviously trained her, but we never see how. Also, the film never delves into what was on the chip her father gave her before he died. Apparently the CIA was very interested in the contents of that chip, but we never know what was on it as there was never an explanation of its contents. Viewers are left to guess that it held information from the drug lord that murdered her parents.
Zoe Saldana steals the show in Colombiana. Out of all her films, I enjoyed watching her in Colombiana the most. She simply tears it up. There is a fight scene that she is involved in that is reminiscent to a scene you would see in the Bourne franchise. I was in awe after I viewed that scene and have a newfound appreciation of Saldana. She plays a very methodical assasin and she looks like she enjoys playing the part as well (she admits to really enjoying playing the character in some of the supplements). Cliff Curtis’ performance was also admirable.
I found the picture quality to be vibrant, with colors well defined. An MPEG-4 AVC video codec was used for Colombiana, framed at 2:35:1. There is an overall orange hue to the picture, which is much more noticeable in the scenes that take place during the day. Nevertheless, the picture looks fantastic and there is a nice luster to the skin tones of the characters. Black levels are sufficiently present as well. I could not pick up on any imperfections or artifacts throughout the film.
The audio has an edge over the picture quality in Colombiana. A 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio track makes itself very present throughout the film, driving all 5 speakers significantly at once. Bass levels are sufficiently present even without the use of a subwoofer. Kick on a subwoofer and really drive the low frequency effects for the film during the action packed scenes.
Colombiana: The Making Of—Director Olivier Megaton discusses where the filming took place (Paris France, Chicago/New Orleans/Miami USA, and Mexico). Some of the stuntmen explain some of the stunts involved in the film. Saldana explains that she really enjoyed the script and enjoys the genre (specifically Leon and La Femme Nikita).
Cataleya’s Journey– Some of the holes in the character development of Cataleya are explained in this portion. Amandla Stenberg (actress who plays an adolescent Cataleya) shares her experiences shooting the film as Cataleya.
Assasins—Saldana mentions that she watched Leon, La Femme Nikita, and The Fifth Element repeatedly in preparation for Colombiana
Training of a Killer—Saldana makes mention that Cataleya did not receive conventional training to be an assasin, rather, her Uncle taught her what he had learned. Saldana also talks about her approach in acting the fight scenes.
Take the Ride—Discussion about the different places the filming took place and the diverse international crew behind the filming of the movie.
A woman is a lot like a flower, soft, pretty and easy on the eyes. Saldana’s character Cataleya embodies those traits, but she can hold her own with any man in Colombiana. The authorities who were after her believed her work to be the doings of a man. I enjoyed this element of the film, that a woman can be sweet and seductive, but just as powerful as a man. I especially enjoyed Saldana’s performance, but most of the other performances were somewhat lackluster. Saldana saves the film, as the lack of character development and holes in the plot mar what could have been an excellent film. With the lack of character development and holes in the plot, I felt that Colombiana could have been better. With that said, it was an action packed romp which is certainly well worthy of a rent and possibly a purchase. If you’re a fan of Saldana and the action/crime thriller genre, you cannot really go wrong with purchasing this release as the supplements add to the film and the audio/video presentations are top notch.