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Colombiana review

Zoe Saldana should really be a bigger star by now.

Not just because she delivered the most memorable performance in the highest-grossing film of all time (even if it was as a cerulean-toned alien from planet Pandora). No – it’s because she’s got the goods, a lithe, sensitive charisma with more value than simply fuelling fanboy fantasies.

So it’s a buzz to see her get her own kick-ass vehicle, but disappointing that producer/co-writer Luc Besson couldn’t conjure something classier than this vengeance thriller about a female assassin racking up a body count Rambo would envy.

Had Besson wanted to do for Saldana what he did for Liam Neeson with Taken, he’d have spent more time at the keyboard and hired a director of more refined talents than the aptly named Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3).

If not for its Hispanic milieu, Colombiana could almost be a sequel to Besson’s Léon. In place of Mathilda, we have Cataleya Restrepo, who watches her parents murdered in Bogota as a little girl and under his wing and shows her the assassin ropes.

You expect daftness in this genre, but it’s funny how Cataleya’s professional targets are all linked to her ultimate prize, while a sidetracking romance with Michael Vartan’s white-bread hunk is silly and sappy, there to let Saldana flash her big Bambi eyes and show the beating heart beneath the hardened-killer shell.

But Colombiana is chiefly designed around the pleasures of watching sSldana waste scores of leering goons with roundhouse kicks and massive weaponry, all while looking fabulous and wearing not very much at all.

There’s no question she keeps up her end of the bargain. It’s just a shame that her Gallic taskmasters leave you feeling like you’re watching a cheesy ’70s cop show.

If Colombiana was a better film, we could be talking up Zoe Saldana as the next Angelina Jolie. But she’s going to need a stronger vehicle than this to end Angie’s reign.

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