rating-3.5colombianaI have to admit that I'm kind of a sucker for a Luc Besson/Robert Mark Kamen film. They're usually not the brightest movies, but they're pretty much always action-y fun. If you ignore Kamen's work on the Karate Kid films, there's a pretty decent body of work between them: The Fifth Element, Taken, the Transporter movies, Unleashed, District B13, The Professional, La Femme Nikita... None are Oscar material or will live on for eternity as an artistic statement, but they all aim to entertain and give something back to an action genre that has become cliched and stale.

Colombiana, for its part, tries to fit easily amongst all of the previously-listed films. Perhaps it fits a little too easily, lacking a bit of the invention or excitement of many of those films. Coming only a short time after Taken, a nearly perfect epic of revenge-meets-spycraft film that doesn't skimp on detail or try to add a glossy unrealistic sheen to the story, Colombiana feels slightly hollow, short on plot, and a little too feel-good by its ending.

Still, there's plenty to enjoy about the movie. Zoe Saldana commits well to the action and the character. Often actresses seem to be unable to appreciate a physical performance while maintaining any acting nuance; Saldana manages to run the gamut emotionally while seeming powerful, despite the fact that she looks malnourished in her tiny shorts and body-hugging catsuits. Perhaps the movie doesn't find the perfect balance to allow Saldana to show emotion and character and then have action sequences and assassinations. The opening flashback to her character's childhood is paced perfectly, as is its follow-up in a prison where her character pulls off an assassination that would make Agent 47 proud. But, as her daily life between jobs, her family relationships, and her inability to connect with others in any deep or meaningful way becomes the focus, the film loses momentum. Personal entanglements lead to her being chased by both the FBI and criminals that want her dead. The revenge plot at the center of the movie becomes muddied by extranious characters and relationships, though the film is ultimately saved by the action setpieces leading up to its climax.

Perhaps it's not as satisfying or perfect a film as it should be, but in comparison to the less-serious action fare of the Transporter films or District B13 movies, it stands as a decent, well-made movie. At its heart is an action film and those looking for more will undoubtedly come away displeased, but for those who just want some good ass-kicking and explosions, Colombiana fills the void nicely until the next Taken comes along.

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