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Film / Colombiana

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Colombiana is a 2011 action movie starring Zoe Saldana, written and produced by Luc Besson. The film follows Cataleya Restrepo, daughter of a member of a Colombian cartel. Her parents are killed when she was 9, forcing her to flee to Chicago to live with her uncle. Using her uncle's tutelage and own intelligence, Cataleya becomes a beautiful and deadly assassin driven by vengeance for her parents' deaths.


This work provides examples of:

  • 555: Delaney's mobile number shown while it's being traced.
  • Action Girl: Cataleya herself.
    • Her mother Alicia knows how to handle BFG as well.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Young Cataleya, after watching her parents killed in front of her, sheds a single tear. She doesn't really cry until much later when she gets to Tio Emilio. Justified in that she had other things to worry about at the moment. Years later though, Cataleya breaks into sobs immediately after seeing her grandmother's body.
  • Anti-Hero: Cataleya herself is either a Type IV or a Type V.
  • Arc Words: "Never forget... Never forget where you came from."
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Cateleya sneaks through the ventilation system of the jail to get to her target. Somewhat subverted, as the vents are claustrophobically small and she has to improvise a way past a fan. Later, she uses the vents in her building to escape the FBI raid on her house.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • SD cards and Xena: Warrior Princess did not exist in 1992. But since it would have been harder to explain to viewers who Chun-Li is, as well as try to find a way to get Cataleya to eat a CD...
    • Danny's phone is an iPhone 3G.
  • Asshole Victim: Ross notes that all of Catelynas victims are scumbag criminals.
  • Badass Mustache: Marshall Warren, whose arriving to transfer the first person we see Catelyna kill.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: This backfires on Cataleya when her boyfriend takes a photo of her sleeping and shows it to his friend, who decides to run a check through a friend in the police department to find out who the mystery girlfriend is.
  • BFG: Try a Blaser R93 Sniper Rifle.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: While Marco is evil, Cataleya is an assassin.
  • Break-In Threat: The ponzi guy wakes up amidst his sleeping Paid Harem to find the word THIEF and an orchid (the assassin's Calling Card) painted on his chest. He then finds all his bodyguards have been murdered. It gets worse.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: A SWAT team is raiding the protagonist's apartment and makes an explosive entry; at the same time she uses an explosive charge to blow a hole through a wall to make her escape into the lift shaft.
  • Call-Back:
    • Emilio, in his Establishing Character Moment, is seen beating a man to death. Cataleya finds his body with evidence that he too suffered the same fate.
    • When Cataleya feeds the dogs early in the movie, they didn't move to eat until she commands them to "eat." Later, she feeds Sandoval to them.
  • Calling Card: Cataleya draws a cataleya orchid on her victims.
  • The Cartel: Cataleya declares war on them after they kill her family.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cataleya's dogs, who eat the cartel head
  • Chekhov's Skill: Eating on cue.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Agent Ross of the FBI continually comes to grips against Agent Williams of the CIA, who is actively stonewalling Ross' investigation to prevent him from discovering Agency's ties to the cartel boss who killed Cataleya's parents.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Cataleya. Then again, these are bad guys that Would Hit a Girl.
  • The Commies Made Me Do It: Cataleya tells Agent Ross she'll kill a member of his family every week if he doesn't get Sandoval's location from the CIA.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat
  • The Determinator: Cataleya, and she stays one for more than 15 years!
  • Dirty Coward: Don Luis just quakes and trembles as he fears Catelyna kill his men.
  • The Dragon: Marco
  • Dramatic Drop: Cataleya drops her pistol when she sees Emilio's body.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Shown in a montage of Cataleya's previous kills, along with Camping a Crapper for another victim.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Averted. No cars blow up in the movie, even the one Cataleya unloads a whole magazine into.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Cataleya offs a sleazy businessman (who got away with a huge Ponzi scheme) by dumping him in his own Shark Pool.
  • Fanservice Extra: Willie, the Ponzi scheme guy, has a Paid Harem of four lingerie-clad women.
  • Flower Motif: The "Cataleya" orchid. (also "Colombiana" is a real kind of orchid).
  • Fruit Cart: During the opening chase scene, a motorbike rider does a dramatic slide into bowls of spices.
  • Genre Savvy: Catelyna's father quickly realizes that Don Luis is going to try to have him killed after seemingly giving him permission to quit because Don Luis was being far too calm about such a significant and somewhat insulting request from one of his men.
  • Get into Jail Free: Our introduction to the protagonist as an adult Professional Killer involves her suddenly ramming a police car while Playing Drunk. The police put her in a cell overnight to sober up; she breaks out of the cell, kills a criminal who's being held overnight there by Federal Marshalls, then gets back in her cell as an alibi. Unfortunately the feds realise the killer had to have been in the building, so start checking into everyone held in custody.
  • Girls with Guns
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Cutting to the outside of the van, which is rocking back and forth as Cataleya's dogs eat the cartel head
  • Hero Antagonist: The FBI and the police.
  • Heroes Love Dogs
  • Hollywood Silencer
  • Impaled Palm
  • Improvised Weapon: The climax manages to do this with a towel and toothbrushes. And it's awesome.
  • Insecurity Camera: Played Straight in her first hit, as she's trying to frame a guard. Subverted later, since when she shoots out some cameras to hide her movment, it tells the FBI exactly where she is.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: The loan shark picks up a pair of Desert Eagles from dead guards and tries to use them on Cataleya. Turns out she emptied them beforehand. Justified, since the target wasn't a gun person and the handgun's massive weight would help disguise the lack of bullets.
  • Just a Stupid Accent/Translation Convention: The Hispanic actors hardly ever speak Spanish, even in the scenes in Colombia, but they do make sure to pronounce Spanish words correctly.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Cataleya does one (that involves her dogs) on the Big Bad near the end of the movie.
  • Karmic Death: Willie (a sleazy businessman) is eaten by the sharks he kept beneath his swimming pool.
  • Kick the Dog: Cataleya does this by killing a gangster and framing a police guard for the murder.
  • Laser Sight: The red dot helps to let the target know she's not bluffing.
  • Le Parkour: By a 9 year old schoolgirl, no less. As well as one of the Mooks chasing her.
  • Little Miss Badass: And she grew up to be quite the lovely Action Girl, too.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Cataleya. Just count the number of times she's naked, partially naked, wet or wearing skintight clothing.
  • Noble Demon: Cataleya is one.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast
  • Pants-Positive Safety: A nice bit of fanservice with Cataleya dancing in her apartment with a Beretta Storm shoved in the back of her short shorts. Followed by a Shower Scene and Oral Fixation.
  • Pet the Dog: Cataleya looks to be going into Death Seeker territory after they kill the last of her family, until she realises her dogs are family too, and brings them along. They get a part in the action too.
  • Playing Drunk: Cataleya does this (hilariously!) to get arrested and thrown in jail with one of her assassination targets.
  • Precious Photo: Emilio has one of his brother's (Cataleya's father) family. After passing it on to Cataleya, she treasures it a well.
  • Professional Killer: Cataleya.
  • Properly Paranoid: Cateleya empties the guns her target might use, searches an FBI agent's house for hidden cameras, and seems to have planned an air-vent escape from her apartment if it's ever raided.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: With a healthy side of More Dakka and a light garnishing of Guns Akimbo. Taken Up to Eleven after her last remaining relatives are killed. She dispenses with her ninja tactics, sends an RPG round through the front door and storms the place guns blazing.
    • Her uncle Emilio apparently went on one of his own after his son was killed, and admits that Revenge Feels Empty.
  • Red Shirt: The men who were supposed to be guarding Cataleya and her parents in the beginning all end up getting easily gunned down by the bad guys in just a few seconds.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Especially that giant sniper rifle.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" plays over the end credits.
  • Spiritual Successor: The movie began life as a sequel to Leon: The Professional and mainly centered around a grown-up Mathilda Lando becoming a "cleaner" much like her deceased mentor Leon Montana as well as being set in the same universe as La Femme Nikita, but was changed into something else over the years due to Gaumont holding the intellectual rights to the property and Luc Besson leaving the company after the failure of 1998's The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.
  • Spy Catsuit: The prison sequence.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Why would the SWAT team blow up Cataleya's front door? (In an apartment building?) They could have easily rammed it open.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Ross and his team.
  • Tempting Fate: On seeing a laser dot on his chest, the CIA Jerkass boasts that the window is armoured against a direct hit from a 57mm shell. Cue warning shot fired through the glass. Damn these government contractors...
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Cataleya.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Emilio, in an attempt to scare Cataleya out of wanting to be an assassin, casually pulls out a gun and takes potshots at a passing car. In broad daylight. In the middle of Chicago. In front of a school. No one cares that he did this.
    • It isn't that no one cares. It was that shooting in such a situation was so unexpected that Emilio and Cataleya went unnoticed in the resulting chaos. He waited until no one was watching them to start shooting and then acted completely casual as they were leaving.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A friend of Danny's trying to help him find out more about Catelyna to further their romance sends her picture to a relative who works in a police station to find out more about her. Her photo going through the database alerts Ross and blows her cover.
  • Waif-Fu: Cataleya does plenty of this against The Dragon.


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