Flick or Skip: Colombiana (Opens 26 August 2011)

In this edition of Flick or Skip, we'll look at the new action/thriller film Colombiana starring Zoe Saldana. Could this be the next Salt or will it fall into the expanding pit of mediocrity that houses so many action/thrillers? We'll try to figure that out based on the trailer alone.

The first thing you can learn from the trailer is that Colombiana has quite a pedigree. The writers are responsible for the hit Liam Neeson thriller Taken and the creator/producer did La Femme Nikita and The Professional. These three films are all in the same wheelhouse that Colombiana is aiming for and are, at the very least, competently made and interesting thrillers.

There also seems to be an interesting story going on here. The lead is shown as a child and an adult, suggesting that part of the mystery of the film is what the young girl saw that led her to become the woman she is today. It might even add an interesting slant to the tired one last hit/public enemy number one nonsense that feeds so many revenge thrillers.

I do have a major concern. A big problem with Taken was this almost-scattered focus of what the film wanted to be. Yes, Liam Neeson was trying to save his daughter and her friend. At the most basic level, it made sense. However, there was so much action and so many characters thrown at the screen that it became muddied. Colombiana seems to have a lot of the same style notes going on. Can you really balance a brooding character study with a whiz-bang action thriller? I'm not sure.

At the very least, we get to see that Zoe Saldana has some scenes with character development and emotional range. Hopefully there's a little more nuance than cold-hearted assassin or grieving woman. The trailer only shows those two levels and that could be a cause for concern.

What I can clearly say is that the film is shot cleanly. The camera doesn't appear to be shaking all over the place, the screen looks well-lit, and the action isn't overbearing. It's hard to judge that entirely from the trailer. I've been wrong before. Colombiana just doesn't seem like that kind of project. If the creative team is already dealing with flashbacks and secret histories, are they really going to shake the camera and throw as many explosions as they can on the screen? Despite my reservations about Taken's structure, I did not find the visuals themselves overbearing, only their placement in the film.

To me, it seems like Colombiana is a good alternative to the other big release on Friday, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. If you prefer action to horror, Colombiana is your best option this weekend. I'm drawn to it to see Zoe Saldana anchor a film with that raw physicality from Avatar while actually being able to see her own face and body. It could be a solid little action/thriller.

So what do you think? Are you going to see Colombiana? Sound off below.

Life Lessons with RuPaul's Drag U: Season 2, Ep. 9

The Library: "Little Sparrow" by Dolly Parton