Serbs, white South Africans and Colombians – they’re the kind of tripartite alliance of Hollywood bad guys. They’re the go-to nations for cartoon-ish stereotype, the people you portray when you can’t be bothered to create any characters with genuine emotions or motives or personality. Ah well. In Colombiana, the lithe, balletic Ms. Zoe Saldana plays a Colombian-born assassin who’s hell-bent on finding the evil drug lords who killed her parents. The bad guys (cue slick hair, gold chains, nasally accents) are actually being protected in the US by a corrupt CIA agent. Zoe has to force them into the open, which prompts much bizarrely-plotted violence that’s supposed to mark her as brilliant but actually seems contrived and, let’s face it, risky. (murder by shark? I mean, really.)
Colombiana is not a bad film, considering the confines of its genre. I actually quite like revenge flicks – at least there’s a nominal reason for the brutality – and Zoe is kind of the female Jason Statham, mesmerizingly athletic, but with bigger hair.
Colombiana filmed in New York and Chicago, with Mexico doing stand in for Bogota. Which begs the perennial Film Commission question: when you’ve got idiot film-makers making a mockery of your country and your people, do you encourage them to film in your location, take their money and work like hell to make them at least feel a little guilty about their quasi-racist assumptions? Or do you block filming, only for the movie to be shot elsewhere where you’ve got absolutely no influence, leaving you to watch from the sidelines as your homeland is trashed? There’s no easy answer to that.