I love Zoe Saldana so much that I don’t even want to say this movie disappointed me. But it totally effin’ disappointed me. I’m always one for a good revenge flick, and after seeing the trailer for this one it was a no brainer – I was going to enjoy it. It looked like something in the same vein as Leon (The Professional) where Natalie Portman played a little girl wanting to become a killer to exact revenge on the criminals who killed her parents. It’s basically the same thing except not as good.
Cataleya is a seemingly normal little school girl until her parents are killed by a rival crime lord. After bartering her way into the U.S. she reconnects with her uncle, played fantastically by Cliff Curtis (Live Free of Die Hard). She asks her uncle to train her to be a killer and he agrees only if she promises to still attend school… you know, to become a smart killer. The movie skips ahead 15 years later, and that is where our story starts with Cataleya in full swing with her revenge.
Zoe Saldana was perfect in the movie, playing one of the sexiest assassin-killers I’ve seen in a movie, and with some real tortured feelings lingering for the last 15 years after losing her parents so young. The action scenes seemed few and far between and I was kind of disappointed not being able to see the young Cataleya train as a killer with her Uncle. More Cliff Curtis as Uncle Emilio would have been awesome, which also could have shown if he was the one to actually train her. Other than being able to fire randomly in public to prove a point, there was no indication that Emilio trained Cataleya in infiltration or hand-to-hand combat. And I have to give special props to young actress Amandla Stenberg for her brief stint as young Cataleya. We’ll be seeing more of her in The Hunger Games next year.
Another aspect of the movie I didn’t enjoy was the love story angle that was unexpectedly spewed forth. I thought maybe the guy Zoe was all over in the trailer was another assassin, or a government agent, but nope. He was just an ordinary artist who wanted to talk about feelings and take pictures of her while she slept. Lame sauce in a revenge action movie bro.
There was also a CIA angle in the movie where Callum Blue (Smallville, Dead Like Me) plays a kind of villain. I thought maybe he would be a force to be reckoned with, but unfortunately he was pretty much wasted talent. Plus his American accent was terrible after only hearing him so much with his thick English drawl. Lennie James (Snatch, Hung) as Agent Ross was a definite strong addition to the supporting cast. It was actually another big part of my disappointment to see such a promising cast not fully utilized like they could have been.
Overall I give the movie 2 out of 5. I went in thinking I’d be seeing more straight up action than I did. I’m a guy all for character development in a movie, but this is one movie where the romance between Cataleya and the painter guy (I can’t even remember his name and refuse to check) could have been sacrificed.