Colombiana (2011)
By: Devon B. on February 23 2012 | Comments
Roadshow | Region 4, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 103 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Callum Blue, Cliff Curtis
Screenplay: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Country: USA / France
External Links
IMDB YouTube YouTube
There're three versions of Colombiana. The first is the US theatrical version, which was rated PG-13. Then there is the international theatrical cut, which would probably only be R in the States. Finally, there's the US unrated version that contains more carnage so would seem to be the one to get, but the director evidently prefers the international theatrical cut. Keeping its track as The Lucky Country, Australia once again lucks out and appears to have received the director's preferred cut on this DVD. We always get the best releases of everything.

In 1992 in Columbia a man is up to illicit activities, but he decides to call it quits, perhaps inspired by The Godfather: Part III. His mentor isn't pleased, so the family is forced to run, but they don't get far before the man and his wife are murdered. Their daughter narrowly escapes and takes refuge with her uncle in the States. She grows up to be the uncle's hit woman, but never forgets her quest for vengeance. Yes, a young girl training to be an assassin echoes Luc Besson's earlier Leon, but the movies are fairly different as most of the focus is on the grown up hit woman… so it's more like Besson's La Femme Nikita in that sense.

I feel like I've been saying it a lot lately, but I do like Luc Besson…however, the feminine assassin is a well he has mined a lot previously, and he's certainly produced better than Colombiana in the past. Even if this were a brand new theme, I struggle a bit with Besson scripted films that are directed by someone else. Without Besson behind the camera the films lose the visual flair I need to keep me engaged through all the preposterousness Besson has written. I might've glossed over the lead's ludicrous master plan, some bizarre police procedural stuff and the inclination the Colombians show to speaking English if Besson had bammed things up a notch from the director's chair. Under Olivier Megaton's direction, I found these elements hugely distracting. I also found myself disinterested in the characters and most of the set up, or indeed any scene that didn't involve a gun.

I don't want to portray Colombiana as a bad film, because it's not. As an action shoot-em up, it has a bit to offer, but the film feels crippled by its target PG-13 rating, and the few extra swears found in the international release don't really even things up. The movie is aimed at boys who want to see a sexy Colombian blow stuff up, and while I'm not against that, I was never really engrossed in the film.
Colombiana's colours are heavily saturated at times, so much so I'm guessing it's a style thing. Clarity gets lost in blacks, and there is some macroblocking, but the print is clean and at times very sharp. Overall I wasn't wowed very often, and I suspect the PAL transfer may be the culprit here.
There's the choice of listening to the movie in 5.1, 2.0 or English audio descriptive mixes. The 5.1 is fuller than the 2.0 track and has less narrative explanation of what's happening on screen than the descriptive one. The 5.1 mix is good, but when all the guns were firing I couldn't help but wish that rather than a 2.0 and descriptive track a DTS mix had been included instead.
Extra Features
Trailers for The Double, Warrior and Son of No One play at start up. You remember what I said about getting the best of everything? That was a lie, because we've missed out, again, on features available on the US DVD.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
The only one of Besson's script only movies I've really liked was Taken, and I think that's more a testament to Liam Neeson than the director of that film. I'm tired of Besson as an "ideas" man. If he's come up with something, he should direct it, damn it. Colombiana is another okay movie in his writing credits, but feels like it could've been more.

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