"Never forget where you came from."Zoe Saldana is quickly becoming the go-to pretty young action starlet in Hollywood. She's blazing a path that most recently both Michelle Rodriguez and Angelina have traveled before her. Always one to fully commit to a role, the Avatar star can take even a silly role and breathe so much heart and compassion into it. Her latest role, in the butt-kicking film Colombiana, puts her stage center where she belongs.
Saldana stars as Cataleya, a Colombian-born woman orphaned as a child when her parents are murdered in front of their own home by mobs. With only her father's chain necklace and a mysterious chip he gave her, Cataleya manages to narrowly escape the dangerous mob and flees to Chicago to live with her uncle and grandmother. With only revenge on her mind, Cataleya grows up to be a top-notch assassin working tirelessly to find and kill those who killed her parents.
After a fairly testosterone-filled summer with the fellas dominating the superhero action movies, Colombiana adds just the right amount of girl power the big screen needed. Saldana commands the screen with not only sex appeal but a truly heartfelt performance of a daughter in mourning. While the movie isn't without some unbelievable elements not absent to any film in its genre, it still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. And how long has it been since we've seen a woman, especially an ethnic woman, helm a slick action thriller like this? Even if she does trigger a bomb in an apartment building wearing only her skivvies in one scene, Saldana still manages to does one of the things she does best--class it up.
We'd be remissed if we didn't mention the performances of some of the other actors in the movie, namely the criminally underrated Cliff Curtis (Training Day) and the always arresting Jordi Mollà (Blow). Curtis plays Cataleya's kindhearted, street-wise uncle whose vulnerable side only fuels his hardened exterior. Mollà portrays the ruthless Marco, one of Cataleya's targets, and never ceases to snatch the attention away from any other actor in his scene. It's about time both these actors have larger, more significant roles in other films. Unfortunately Michael Vartan as Cataleya's clueless man friend Danny, with his signature doe-eyed glazes, add nothing to the mix. He's starting to ride on this one expression in every role he plays. We still don't know what he's capable of as an actor, if anything.
Acclaimed writer Luc Besson (The Professional, Taken, The Fifth Element) co-writes another action-packed movie that even with a few outrageous moments is still a smart, sexy thriller with a good story that propels Saldana's star power. Linda Hamilton, Sigourney Weaver, and Lucy Liu would be proud.