Cataleya Restrepo (Saldana) has had a hard life. In the lengthy opening section of the latest glossily entertaining gewgaw from producer Luc Besson (who also coscripted with Robert Mark Kamen), we see her as a young girl (Stenberg) living in Colombia, where the malicious local drug lord has her parents killed. After a daring escape---jumping from favela roofs, sliding into stinky sewers---she makes her way to Chicago, where her underworld uncle trains her as an assassin. Soon enough, she's filling out skintight cat-burglar suits with wolf-whistleworthy sensuousness, plotting a ridiculously elaborate revenge on her mom and dad's murderers, and having some on-the-side nookie with a dead ringer of that guy from Alias (Vartan).
The jittery aesthetic is a bit grating---there's a three-cut minimum per roundhouse kick---but the spectacularly named Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) still manages to deliver the action-film goods, especially during a close-quarters smackdown that gives new meaning to the term pistol-whipped. And Besson's empathetic guiding hand is evident from the opening massacre (which is kept offscreen, the camera entirely focused on young Cataleya's terrified face) to the strangely melancholy finale, which makes terrific use of Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt."
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