Colombiana (2011)


Never Forget Where You Came From

The last of the four RedBox movies that I rented, coming at you.  When I picked these four movies up from RedBox, I expected Footloose and Jack & Jill to suck (and was mostly right), and I expected The Thing and today’s movie to be good.  The Thing kind of disappointed me, but I still have one more to go.  I was vaguely interested in today’s movie when it was in theaters.  It looked like sort of a cool action/revenge movie with a hot and talented lead that I’ve liked in the past.  It was even written by someone who’s work I’ve enjoyed in the past.  Let’s see if the collaboration works out in my review of Colombiana, written by Luc Besson and Robert Karm Kamen, directed by Olivier Megaton (is that a real last name?), and starring Zoe Saldana, Jordi Molla, Cliff Curtis, Lennie James, Michael Vartan, and Amandla Stenberg.

A group of Colombian drug mafia guys go to a guy’s house and gun down him and his wife, looking for some special item that is in his possession.  Before getting killed, the dad gave the item to his daughter, Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg).  The leader, Marco (Jordi Molla), tries to get her to tell him where it is, but instead gets stabbed in the hand by her and she escapes, making it to the US embassy.  She vomits the item onto the Ambassador’s desk and it turns out to be a flash drive with valuable information on it.  This is enough to pay for her way to America, where she promptly escapes from the Department of Social Services and makes her way to her uncle, Emilio (Cliff Curtis).  It’s from him that Cataleya learns how to be an assassin.  15 years later, she’s Zoe Saldana.  Not a bad position to be in.  She’s also a pretty damned good killer because she’s good at hand to hand, stealth, good with any weapon, and who wouldn’t let her kill them?  Almost makes me wish I had killed her parents when she was young … oh wait … that wouldn’t help me have sex with her at all!  Well, she spends the rest of the movie trying to get revenge.

This movie pretty much delivered on everything I went into it wanting.  I wanted some cool action, and they gave me that, although it was a little more talkie and could’ve used some more action for my taste.  They had some, but they seemed to focus more on the story (which was a pretty typical revenge plot) and on trying to be a little too stylish with their action.  Some stylized action is nice, but too much of it and you’ve lost focus on the “action” part.  And if you’re not giving me enough action, then you’re relying on the story.  At first, I was a little bored with the movie because they spend too much time with Cataleya as a kid, before she was an ass-kicker.  I don’t care about that!  Give me Zoe Saldana in skintight things with her nipples poking out!  That’s why I came to this movie!  Then she gets to the killing, and that gets a little more interesting.  The first one has her going from a super tight miniskirt into an ultra tight jumpsuit, and I appreciated both.  But then she basically has to make a trip through the entire police office, up to the roof, down through the vents, and ends up at what seems to be the jail cell next door to the one she was in.  The rest of the action scenes were spread out between drama with her boyfriend, drama with her uncle, and the police trying to find out who was doing her killings, which I found completely insulting.  The cops are going through the footage of who was booked at the same time as the guy that got shot in the cell but, when they come across Cataleya, the main cop literally says “We’re not looking for a woman.  It’s not possible.”  Really, dick?  How could you forget that the rest of your line was “How could she possibly kill people while dragging around all of the kids AND still finding the time to get the dishes and the laundry done?”  There’s no way a woman could point a gun and pull a trigger, asshole?  Do their tits get in the way?  Luckily, Zoe has nice little ones so that she can still put her hands together in front of her in order to aim a gun, unlike 99% of the other women in the world.  I wanted that scene to keep going with another cop saying “But sir, she was the only other person in the prison that night” and him saying “Hmmmm… I got it!  He shot himself in the chest 5 times with the gun he didn’t have!  Case closed!  Good work, gentlemen.”  The action in the movie was fairly well done (where it was done at all), but most took the form of big shootouts, which I don’t find that interesting generally.  At the end, there’s a good fist fight that I enjoyed.  It was reminiscent of a fight from one of the Bourne movies because the person with the inferior weapon (in this case, a towel) is able to beat the shit out of a person with a superior weapon (in this case, a gun).  I liked the similar scene in Bourne where he kicked someone’s ass with a towel and a book.  I did think it was weird that she stabbed the guy a few times with a toothbrush, and also stabbed him in the shoulder with the slide of his gun.  I thought the last part was especially weird because (unless the bad guy was made of pudding) I don’t think you could stab someone with a slide.  And if you did, you’d probably want to do it in the heart or something.  You can come back from a shoulder wound.

I honestly can’t remember anyone in this movie beyond the star.  Every performance besides her and possibly Cliff Curtis made no impact whatsoever.  Zoe Saldana was great, and great to look at.  I watched this with my roommate, who decided to make fun of her for being too skinny.  But when she got down into her underwear and he saw her ass, she shut his mouth but good.  Me, I kind of like skinny womens, so I was down all the way.  She goes for a lot of skintight clothing in this movie, and even her loose clothing is kind of sheer and almost see through, so my eyes were fixed on her most of the time.  Oh yeah, her performance was good too.  I was charmed by her when she was masquerading as a drunk girl in her first scene, but that scene kind of lost it’s impact because it was spoiled in every trailer I saw for the movie.  The rest of the time she was a cold hard bitch of a killing machine, except for one scene where she allowed herself to be vulnerable, and she pulled that off as well.  There was one thing about that scene that always bothered me, and that was the way she held her “f” in the word “front” as she said “He killed my parents … in ffffffffffffffffront of me.”  First off, no they didn’t.  They were in the other room when they were gunned down.  Then she held the f in a weird way that’s always stuck in my mind for some reason.  Cliff Curtis was also good in this movie, but not in a way that causes me to have something to say about it.

Colombiana turned out to be a pretty standard action/revenge movie.  The story was fairly predictable, and one you’ve seen before.  The action was good, but spread out too much by the story I wasn’t that interested in.  And the performance of Zoe Saldana was smokin’ hot.  Also good.  I really need to remember that part.  Either way, I don’t feel like I can tell you that you SHOULD see this movie, but I’m alright saying you probably won’t hate it if you do.  It’s entertaining enough, but just a little slow and not very noteworthy.  Colombiana gets “If you want to be a killer and survive, you got to be a smart one” out of “My parents were killed … in fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffront of me.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Deep Rising (1998)


Oh Man … What Stinks?

I have no idea what inspired me to rent today’s movie.  I kind of wanted to watch a dumb action movie, so I guess I did that.  It’s one of those times when something is in your Netflix queue and you’re not paying attention so you actually have it get sent to you and then you have to watch it.  What made me put it in my queue in the first place is a better question, but I don’t have an answer to that either.  Either way, let’s make fun of a dumb action movie!  This one is Deep Rising, written and directed by Stephen Sommers, and starring Treat Williams, Wes Studi, Anthony Heald, Famke Janssen, Kevin J. O’Connor, Derrick O’Connor, Jason Flemyng, Djimon Hounsou, Cliff Curtis, Clifton Powell, Trevor Goddard, and Una Damon.

There’s a little boat hauling ass through the middle of the ocean somewhere, crewed by John Finnegan (Treat Williams), engineer Joey “Tooch” Pantucci (Kevin J. O’Connor), and the Tooch’s girlfriend, Leila (Una Damon).  Finnegan has a reputation for putting his boat out to people without asking questions, just as long as the money is there.  This time, the money comes from a man named Hanover (Wes Studi).  He has brought a bunch of heavy weaponry and a crew of mercenaries, comprised of T-Ray (Trevor Goddard), Mamooli (Cliff Curtis), Vivo (Djimon Hounsou), Mason (Clifton Powell), and Mulligan (Jason Flemyng).  Meanwhile, there’s a cruise ship owned by Simon Canton (Anthony Heald), and captained by Captain Atherton (Derrick O’Connor), who are dealing with a mischievous, and hot, thief named Trillian (Famke Janssen).  While they do that, something hits the ship and it goes dark.  Back on Finnegan’s ship, they run into a lifeboat dropped in the impact from the cruise ship, damaging their ship and leaving it nearly useless.  They get onto the cruise ship and find everyone missing.  Apparently, some kind of tentacled monster has attacked the cruise ship, leaving few survivors, and the mercenaries and Finnegan’s crew have to find the parts they need to fix their ship, while trying to survive the creature.

This isn’t a great movie.  I’m pretty sure it’s well aware of that.  It should, therefore, endeavor to be fun.  It gets close to being fun, but is kind of bogged down by being too predictable and cliche.  It’s a fairly typical monster movie, though it seems they didn’t have the money to show the monster very often.  I guess they could have been going for the suspense, but it didn’t really work.  Instead it just seemed like they were afraid to show it at first because it might be ridiculous.  And it was.  For the first 90% of the movie, the monster was just a series of autonomous tentacles that knew where the cast was without actually having eyes or ears.  They were basically just arms on an octopus that wasn’t seen until the end, so how would they know where the people were?  The writing of the movie was pretty typical and cliche.  A few lines required punctuation that came in the form of a shotgun being cocked, for instance.  At one point, the engineer is running down a hallway with the leader of the mercenaries, running from a tentacle that should have no idea where they are, and they both keep mentioning over and over that the only thing that will stop the tentacle from chasing them is if they feed it something.  They say this like five times until the engineer says “What could we feed it?  What could we feed it?!” and the mercenary leader shoots him in the leg, leaving him for dead.  You didn’t see that coming?  Other parts were just badly written.  The one that comes to me right now is when the mercenary puts a gun to Famke’s chest and says “Tell me what I want to know …” pulls back the hammer on his pistol “…or I’ll pull the trigger.”  What a lame punchline!

The cast did what they had to do, but they didn’t have much of a script to work with.  Treat Williams was reminiscent of Nathan Fillion from Serenity, being a wisecracking captain that never seems to take the situation that seriously, but Nathan Fillion had the benefit of good writing.  Una Damon was the hot Asian lady in the movie.  That’s about all that could be said about her character.  I got really angry that she was the first person of the principle cast to get killed, stealing my primary eye candy away.  I’ve never found Famke Janssen too attractive, but she was at her hottest in this movie, so she took over the eye candy role when the Asian died.  She was a entertaining character, and usually portrayed as a tough chick, but that just lead to me getting pissed off at the end when the captain was chasing her with a flare gun.  He fired twice and missed, but she kept running as he started to reload.  She could have gotten to him and whooped that ass before he could reload if the writers didn’t hate women.  I’m pretty sure she punched a guy or two when outnumbered in the movie, and he never gave us any reason to believe he could fight, but women lack the arm strength to best a man of any kind, right writers?  Kevin J. O’Connor was the other role that made an impact with me, but only because he was really annoying.  That was what he was going for, and it worked.  He could not stop words from spilling out of his mouth.  He was playing much the same role as he did in The Mummy, but he never turned evil and the writing was nowhere near as strong.  It was a nice bit of wishful thinking that the writers made him be dating the really hot Asian chick, but really bad writing that this dude survives the ENTIRE MOVIE and she dies first.  No one wants him around!  None of the mercenaries really made an impact beyond the fact that they made me realize that the writers believed that every person can have only one personality trait.  Finnegan is cocky, the Tooch talks too much, T-Ray is an asshole, Vivo is a scary black man, and Mamooli is horny all the time.  If the movie stuck in my head more, I could probably do it for every character.

I’ve said before that I do not mind a movie being dumb as long as it’s fun, but this movie falls short on the fun.  It’s just predictable while making no sense, having poorly written dialogue, and having really basic characters.  The comic relief was mainly supplied by a guy who was always around and would not shut up, but was rarely saying anything funny.  Deep Rising is not a horrible movie, but it’s not good either.  You can skip this one.  Deep Rising gets “There goes one year off my life” out of “Shut your fucking whining weasel …”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!