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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Colombiana’ makes vengeance beautiful

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    It’s the typical chase scene: There are big guns and cleverly-stashed smaller ones. There are rooftops to fly off, awnings to jump through, and line-drying pieces of innocent laundry to disturb. The brilliant hues of Columbian capital Bogotá shine on, enveloped in silence. Everything seems in order until you remember that the object of pursuit is a freakishly coolheaded little girl complete with Peter Pan collar and pinafore.

    Young Cataleya is named for the genus of the delicate orchid native to her hometown; but she seems to have been born ready for the rough and tumble her life has brought her. She had to watch the cold-blooded slaughter of her parents, flee the city she’s always known on foot with various motorized vehicles in hot pursuit, and gather up her bloodied hair into a ballet-worthy topknot before venturing forth through Miami to find her uncle in Chicago.

    It doesn’t take long for her to reveal her newfound career path to her tío: “I used to want to be like Xena — a warrior princess … (now) I want to be a killer.”

    Needless to say, it’s more than the convenient Spanglish that provokes disbelief in the viewer in “Colombiana,” which opened Aug. 26.

    Remember, you’ve just tumbled with an impossibly tough child through everything from CIA custody to public transit and all the while been treated to a series of lushly textured landscapes spliced with striking sophistication.

    Keep watching, because into the film here totters its most attractive inhabitant: a head-turning, slutted-up Zoe Saldana as a whole new Cataleya, all grown up and ready for action.

    Now, if watching an incarcerated Saldana adeptly wrangle a hairpin from the depths of her mane and spring herself from her cell isn’t sexy enough for you, don’t worry. How about a good shot of Saldana’s upper assets through a shiny, spandex unitard?

    In fact, some of Saldana’s best features are visible as she eats Chinese takeout with her fingers, enjoys a lollipop, and cleans her gun. They, along with the semi-sexist SWAT team dialogue, don’t let you forget that you’re watching a woman in a typically male occupation — assassin.

    So, the sexualization is extreme and the dialogue is shoddy at best, serving in several instances as cheap connective tissue to bind a fast-paced yet flailing plot. But the cinematography is sensual and up-to-date, and Saldana and her co-stars are — it must be admitted — simply captivating.

    After all, when the time is right to slide down an elevator shaft, why not be as cotton-hugged and tousled as a Gap Body model? Even Saldana in snow gear wouldn’t answer the lingering questions about the morality of vigilante justice, the psychological ramifications of violent crime, or even those as basic as how exactly killing bad guys pays the bills.

    So she might as well wear undies while doing it.

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