By Wilson Morales
Unlike other recent female assassin films such as Angelina Jolie’s ‘Salt’ or Soairse Ronan’s ‘Hanna,’ the motives here are clear and simple. It’s a revenge flick filled with lots of action and less dialogue. It’s your typical B film brought to the big screen by the power and influence of Luc Besson.
Set in Colombia, young Cataleya (played by Amandla Stenberg), whose aware of her father’s business as the assassin for a local crime lord Don Luis, is caught in the middle of his world as she witnesses the murder of her parents by the ruthless Marco (played by Jordi Molla), Luis’ chief lieutenant. Escaping by the skin of her teeth, as well as her dazzling acrobatic skills, Cataleya heads for refuge at the US embassy where she’s flown to the US. Once there, she eludes her protectors and heads for Chicago in search for her uncle Emilio (played by Cliff Curtis).
Instead of going to school and living a normal life, Cataleya has one mission: To be an assassin like her a father. Reluctant at first, but knowing he can’t stop her, Emilio has no choice but to help her.
Years of training and very skilled, an adult Cataleya (played by Saladana) is not only the best in her uncle’s business, but has been secretly carrying her own assassin missions in the hopes of flushing out the men responsible for her father’s death, mainly Luis and Marco.
With a certain FBI enforcer, Agent Ross (played by Lennie James) in hot pursuit, Cataleya’s quest is compromised by the unexplained affair with Danny (played by TNT’s Hawthorne Michael Vartan), an artist clueless to her lifestyle.
From the minute the film starts and young Cataleya springs into action, the audience is in for an explosive thriller. Once the dialogue kicks in, it’s clear the writer was told to make the script quick and painless.
If you happened to have seen his previous work, ‘Transporter 3’ with Jason Statham, you know what to expect from director Olivier Megaton. One walks into his films looking for cotton candy and an escapist fantasy.
Besson’s no stranger to producing films with female heroines as he’s done in the past with ‘The Professional’ (Natalie Portman), ‘The Messenger: The Story of Joan Arc’ (Milla Jovovich), and one of his cult classics ‘La Femme Nikita.’
For as much as she’s done recently with ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Avatar,’ Saldana gets to do more here than in both of the films. More screen time but less dialogue. Everyone’s entitled to have a little fun on camera, and with Besson and Megaton’s Saldana looks great and physical form.
The way Cataleya swims through sharks, escapes jail cells, and manhandles a team of killers on her own, don’t be surprised if Besson’s ready to do a video game on this character to challenger ‘Tomb Raider.’