dvd "Columbiana" 3-4* not "like"-able, but does the job. Tough girl action hero expectation delivered in high revenge ferocity (though wary after horror previews). Cataleya ~10 (Amandla Stenberg) grows beliveably to 25 (Zoe Saldana). Child actor rarely matches adult so well. Suspense - when people relax, bored, chat without care, trouble is certain to explode. Trailer

X-rated, (F-rated?) for some curses, some blood, pain, crying, much threats - blinking red light with rising note represents bomb timer. Blood feud costs are older than Romeo and Juliet. Tad overly political correctness when heroine and FBI are darker skinned than nasty white CIA villain protector. Why does FBI want our hero(ine) when she eliminated the big and bad? CIA protects Luis Sandoval (Beto Benites), her clues were for the government to take him down. Niggles, oopsies. She's model skinny, don't see muscles she'd need, call her "lithe", overly exposed while men overdressed. Cuts and bruises would be more realistic, but that is not the purpose of this entertainment. Bit of brains to short out prison ventilators, but guns (and soft skin) are the focus(foci?).

The finale tinkle of shells on the ground sounded as if in my own room, from regular eensy TV. I wondered why Marco took off his glasses; fight scenes are rough and fast. (Ponytails always do seem a liability then.) "She's like mist under a door, like a mouse in the wall. She will never attack straight on, and you will not see her until it's too late." - Marco

Yellow urban highrise background make opening credits unreadable. Colombia 1962 goodbye drinks to "Ave Maria" song expect double-cross. Papa Fabio (Jesse Borrego) gives schoolgirl-tunic lollipop-licking Catelaya 9 small thing "your passport", address on note, and necklace with cattleya orchid; she sits at table wide teary eyes as multi-punctured parents gasp last. Marco (Jordi Molla) "good friend of your father" asks her for "that little thing that belongs to Don Luis". She knifes his hand onto table, runs, jumps, (gotta be doubles already) - big chase off and across roofs, down, through rooms, alleys, gardens, market, motocycle down stairs. Not your standard postcard scenery.

From first big brown eyed innocence, she demonstrates quick response, resources, gets herself across country to uncle Emilio ( Māori Cliff Curtis, Collateral Damage, Missing, Whale Rider), torturer, but music behind her tears confirms his "You're safe". To sounds of sirens and subways, her new life starts. Before she wanted to be Xena Warrior Princess, now "I want to be a killer. Can you help?" "Sure". She knows power of cash - gets ticket to Chicago, into school mid-year, but after that, irrelevant, only the size of her armory, fancy apartment security, and ease of travel and IDs hint at income.

In ending, she doesn't stop to open the gate for her truck; she doesn't expect to return. The glance to the dogs suggests they go too. Finally she's fully clothed. The image of her driving the giant truck impresses; doubt she really drove. As soon as she picked up two toothbrushes, my eyes scrinched tight, death bad enough mis-guessed. Dogs forgotten in fight for life. Surprise.

Bogata sewer first escape. In American agency, she vomits teensy tiny video "my passport". In Miami, she flees by loo window, pays to Chicago. California 15 years later, cop car crashed by girl wearing next to nothing showing bra, necklace gives away our girl, library card Valerie Phillips into cell. See vicious typecast thug Rizzo (Afif Ben Badra), guess assassination or jailbreak. She draws lipstick on victim's chest. CIA wants Rizzo to find who put his former wet-work partner Fabio's signature on 22 "bad-apple" murders in the last 4 years, uncle calls unprofessional "tag killings" endangering her and whole family. Next assignment, Ponzi embezzler fled to tropics, means swimsuits, skin .. and scary CGI shadows for sharks. All the MEN pursuing are overclothed, vests, helmets, she's almost naked, bare feet over everything.

Adult tiny figure, fingers in food, dancing around, lollipop - all deliberately say "kid". Front door ajar, dark apartment, man enters - "danger danger" - Cat is all grown up now, smoochy with tattooed artist hunk Danny (Michael Vartan) "You never finish a painting. You just stop working on it." "I know something you're good at finishing." (captions read: "you finish") She wants to be dessert; he wants more, feelings.

As soon as he shows pal phone photo while "Jen" slept, matchmaker pal sends to precint, SWAT easy prediction. Chance passerby recognizes flower drawn on victims is orchid for FBI James Ross (Lennie James). Marco lands in America. Dominoes are set to fall. I know how this goes - she loses everyone - they Suffer - but she gets her parents' killer with her last breath. Sweet end. "Will my little bird come back one day?" "Leave your window open and you'll see."

Why is her uncle not arrested after shooting up street? How does skin tight overall leotard fit under skin tight micro? Why does outfit not extend over fingerprints? Wouldn't security guard have bruise(s) from knockout? Hanging from pipe, her arms are bent, without muscle tension, should be straight, gives away wires holding. Leaving cop station, she pulls off transparent gloves that would have been visible on bare arms. In library (book store?), kicking books and sobbing would draw attention. Job2 Cat rolls onto ground, barefoots everywhere - unlikely. Why doesn't embezzler phone backup? Atop glass separating from sharks, no guess who is going down. Again, bailing her apartment, her feet are bare. Her resources and sources (uncle, apartment, tech) are gone, does she find FBI home and CIA office on regular coffee-shop internet? (A good editor would delete such scenes for slowing plot momentum.)

Finale. Shouldn't gloves cover (her) fragile knuckles? How did dogs get from truck to van? Why does Danny call Cat "bird", a flower; could be after a bird native to Columbia for this line to make sense, one that migrates? She carries nothing to the bus, gauzy shirt shows no gun at her back, tight pants hold maybe one credit card, traceable, no bulky cash. Signs and bus are in English; license plate is unreadable; color is orange like Columbia; where is she leaving from?)

Glimpse of belt on Marco after Cat took it off in fight. Freeze frame proves goof, many times. Stunt double?
Dogs could not hear Cat over phone. How does "eat human" command work without practice? dummy? If any of 23, drawing devoured.
Cat says she was 9 when parents shot; credits say 10; director says 11 (actor or script?)

Aside: Filiming units in New Orleans and France, besides Chicago, Miami, Mexico, that is why "In Memoriam" to French sound guy, Francois Groult.

1 Le Making of
Much translated from French. Triple goof - girl 11. Cat trained with LAPD SWAT cop, shot guns 8 hours in dungeon. Result shows, gun away from face. Weapon. explosions, choreography. Bang, boom, pow.
2 Catelaya's Journey
Again, director Olivier Megaton says girl is 11. Make up the mind boys. Brit accented Lennie James, four year chase, thought target man. Zoe, "she's a little terminator". American accented Amandla had fun; stabbed hand too hard with retractable knife; trained a week for running chase so not too sore.

Previews: ads for blue-ray discs Horror films Straw Dogs, The Rum Diary, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Retreat, Drive.

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