Saturday, 17 September 2011
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Screenplay: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Zoe Saldana, Jordi Molla, Lennie James, Amandla Stenberg & Cliff Curtis
So another glossy action flick rolls off Luc Besson’s movie conveyor belt and while it features all kinds of logic defying nonsense and falls foul of too many “techniques” of modern filmmaking (I’m looking at you completely inappropriate, intrusive and annoying music), Colombiana is actually a decent and highly enjoyable action flick. It’s the age old story of a youngster witnessing the death of her parents by some slimy bad guys only to grow up and become a ruthless (and impossibly sexy) killing machine who, of course, goes after her original family’s killers: inevitably leading to a big, bombastic showdown.
Fair play really, as it’s an enjoyable plot hook that, again, works well here and Besson and his team at least give us some likeable characters to root for and some decently staged action beats to make Colombiana a worthwhile, sun soaked ride. There is a bit of grit thrown in as well, at least grit that lives within a heightened action world, as the violence is often quite brutal (though never overly graphic) and the cast at least put blood, sweat and tears into their parts and the action scenes. Zoe Saldana (who is always good in anything she is in) actually manages to convince as a 100lb lethal killing machine. She is tough as nails but infused with personality and she carries the film admirably on her very skinny shoulders. Plus if the sight of her escaping capture in nothing but her underwear and a high-powered rifle doesn’t entertain, well, then you have no right watching movies. The always underrated Cliff Curtis is great as her would be mentor and Lennie James impresses as a more down to earth cop on the deadly assassins trail.
Olivier Megaton makes up for the damage he did to the once enjoyable Transporter series (he helmed the much botched Transporter 3) by filming some dynamic action scenes that for once actually flow. Aside from one over edited/shaky cam fight scene near the end, the action scenes are well put together and most importantly thrilling. From an awesome sequence featuring Saldana breaking into a prison to the firepower heavy shoot-up finale, the action is mean, lean and full of force. It thankfully never feels too rushed and feels more born out of the situation than just thrown in to fill out the running time.
On the downside, logic often takes a flying leap out the window (a young girl somehow makes it all the way to the seedy streets of Chicago from the dangerous streets of Colombia almost entirely on her own; sim cards, or at least what looks like one, in 1992, don’t think so!) but then this is a pulp action film. In addition, Megaton just can’t get away from that annoyingly intrusive music. Seriously it plays over scenes that have no need for it and is thrust into our ears so we know, like, that this scene is dramatic. There is no need for this as the cast are more than able at conveying the emotion.
It may be a little generic of story but with taught direction, a game cast and some impressive action, Colombiana is a refreshingly straightforward and highly enjoyable action film.