Blu-ray Review: Colombiana

Colombiana Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Olivier Megaton | CAST: Zoe Saldana, Jordi Molla, Lennie Jamies, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 12/20/2011 | PRICE: DVD $30.99, Blu-ray $35.99
BONUSES: featurettes
SPECS: rating | 111 min. | Action | 2.35:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish and Portugeuse subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

ColombianaColombiana got hammered by most critics when it was in theaters, but, for a movie serving up action, bullets and a sexy bad-ass babe, it’s not a bad way to spend a few hours.

Zoe Saldana (Takers) plays said bas-ass babe. Cataleya is a pretty one-dimensional character: The daughter of a gangster, she watched as her parents were gunned down in front of her and grew up with one goal in mind — revenge.

And that’s basically the plot. We see 10-year-old Cataleya, played beautifully by newcomer Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), showing spunk and ingenuity as she runs from the killers, seeks protection from U.S. authorities, then escapes and makes it to her uncle (Cliff Curtis, TV’s Trauma) in Chicago — all on her own.  Her uncle, a gangster in his own right, takes her in and, after a little persuading, trains her as a killer. As a grownup, Cataleya does contract work and leaves a signature behind, a drawing of a the cataleya orchid — which she’s named after — in an effort to put fear in the hearts of … you guessed it, the gangsters who killed her parents. And we head toward the inevitable payoff.

The downfall to Colombiana is how much of the plot you have to buy to accept the story. But this isn’t Hamlet. We can get passed the fact that this 10-year-old traveled safely across the U.S. by herself without her money being stolen or worse. We can get passed that her boyfriend’s friend sent her photo to a distant relative in the DMV for a background check. And we can get passed that said distant relative can even do much of a background check from the DMV. We can accept these things because 100% reality is not what this film is about. And it does deliver on what it promises: flying bullets, heist-like killings and interesting ways for bad guys to die. Director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) keeps Colombiana moving, so you don’t have to think about the conviences of the story too much.

Although the film was rated PG-13 when it ran in theaters, the Blu-ray contains an unrated version — only an unrated version — which probably would be an R if it was given to the MPAA. Maybe Colombiana would have gotten better reviews if this version had been shown in theaters.

The action looks sharp in Blu-ray’s high-definition, with great colors of saturated blue skies and deep red blood — lots and lots of deep red blood. The sound is good too, with the pop pop of the gun shots, the booms of the explosions and the slight breathing when Cataleya is in hiding.

The special features on the Blu-ray are a bunch of featurettes with Megaton, Saldana, Stenberg, Michael Vartan (TV’s Hawthorne) and others waxing poetic about the story and the making of the film. It’s the usual stuff, exploring the characters, locations, etc. The interviewees get a little too serious talking about the “depth” of the movie, but the behind-the-scenes footage is fun to watch.

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.