On very rare occasions, while watching a film it comes across as if the director is a pervert with his mind and efforts focused more on the sex and nudity of his actresses than on the movie itself. The first time I remember feeling this way was with Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. How many movies have you seen where every actress does a topless scene (other than straight porn), most scenes being absolutely unnecessary? I can tell you one: Synecdoche, New York. Colombiana gives off that exact same vibe. Although falling under the “safe” PG-13 rating, Colombiana features more nipple shots than most R-rated movies.
When I go to a PG-13 movie, I expect to see what is marketed – in the case of Colombiana, a mildly violent girl power action flick. If Colombiana were R-rated, Zoe Saldana’s nipples would be expected and, for some, the action would come second. Being PG-13, I went in expecting nothing more than the action.
During Saldana’s first action sequence, she wears a see-through skin-tight assassin suit that leaves barely anything up to the imagination. Instead of enjoying the stylized assassination attempt at hand, the constant rating-busting nipple shots distractingly pull your eyes and mind away from where they should be. In fact, the over-use of fast nude shots also feel like a distracting factor for director Olivier Megaton.
You almost get the feeling that Megaton tried to find more ways to get away with showing Saldana’s nipples that he did trying to create unique original action sequences. Nearly every action sequence in Colombiana plays out like one you’ve seen in other action movies. Just like Jason Bourne, Saldana takes an any assassin down with a damp towel. Just like the Nebuchadnezzar crew’s escape in The Matrix, Saldana slides down a blow-out wall to escape a building from several floors up. Just like Edward Norton running from Tim Roth through the stacked-up third-world city in The Incredible Hulk (and Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster in Fast Five), a young version of Saldana’s character runs down the tops of a descending city for survival – this time throwing in parkour. Instead of focusing on how to exploit his lead actress’ breats, Megaton should have tried creating original action scenes.
The most odd rip that Colombiana replicates is the story itself: a young girl witnesses the death of her parents at the hands of an evil man and decides to become an assassin so that she can successfully take him down. We have already seen that story unfold with Natalie Portman playing the 14-year-old lead in Leon: The Professional - but the odd fact is that Leon was written by the exact same guy who co-wrote Colomiana, Luc Besson. Those who argue that there aren’t any more original ideas now have a perfect example to backup their argument.
While the lack of originality in Colombiana sounds completely unappealing, you need to remember that each of those ripped-off scenes or story details is taken from a movie that used that idea for the best. Although Colombiana may be nothing more than compilation of scenes from other movies, it recreated good scenes from other movies. Instead of feeling like a fresh, creative and original action movie (like Hanna, which is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy on September 6 – and to answer your question, no, I do not receive compensation for that plug), Colombiana feels like an actress-exploiting “best-of” action flick. It takes good scenes and story from other movies, shows a cute actress nude and hopes that you’ll enjoy it.
Photo credit: TriStar Pictures/Stage 6 Films