‘Colombiana’ is a prime example of a journeyman reaching for the stars. The plot – one-woman army Cataleya (Zoe Saldana, pictured) goes after the drug barons who murdered her pops – promises straight action thrills. But Megaton’s self-serious treatment, attempting to tick multiplex-friendly action boxes while offering an exploration of loss and the drive for revenge, just doesn’t work. The result is a thriller undone by its own dramatic pretensions.
Saldana is impressive as the slinky assassin, and a nailbiting prison-cell murder sequence, showcasing her Lycra-clad athletic prowess, is the film’s highlight. Like her director, Saldana struggles with the more weighty material, but that’s the fault of the script more than her restrained delivery.
Perhaps Megaton should be lauded for trying to push the multiplex envelope, and there are moments when ‘Colombiana’ almost succeeds. The director is adept at knocking together a decent set-piece, from parkour-style chases to trigger-happy home invasions, but his desire to deliver a treatise on isolation and grief – down to the inappropriate appearance of Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ – renders his film tiresome and unconvincing.