Vengeance certainly is beautiful, but in this case, it’s pretty stupid too. This action film, directed by Olivier Megaton and written and produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson, stars Zoe Saldana as a woman out to kill the men who killed her parents before her very eyes when she was just a little girl (well sort of, she was upstairs when it happened). Now Luc Besson is well known for his action and revenge films; his body of work includes Nikita, Leon, The Fifth Element, Taken and the Transporter film series. I’m familiar with his work so I knew what to expect walking in, but man was I surprised at what I witnessed, but first the good. Zoe Saldana gives an okay performance as the main character Cataleya; she is cold and very determined in her quest for vengeance, but sadly Saldana’s character never develops in the film, the film never seems to care about who she kills or why.
The film seems more concerned with her looking good and sexy when she does it (there is a sequence where she’s evading SWAT in her underwear and a little top on) and the other characters are very weak too in terms of story and dialogue. We first see Cataleya as a young girl whom after the death of her family takes refuge with her uncle Emilio played by Cliff Curtis, who always gives a great performance in any role he’s given (not to mention he can probably play any ethnicity you can think of) he teaches her the skills she’ll need to carry out her vengeance.
Now while the audience is told of how Cataleya was trained by her uncle, we never get to see any of it, the film just glosses over that part of her life completely which seriously hurts this film because we never see her develop from a scared little girl into a cold-hearted killer. Her quest for vengeance doesn’t seem that urgent or tense because of the villains; Marco (Jordi Mollà) and drug lord Don Luis (Beto Benites) never really seem like a threat, we don’t see them commit any criminal activity (apart from chase a young Cataleya across the city) we don’t actually see them kill Cataleya’s parents either so they don’t seem dangerous at all.
Speaking of chases, how is it that a little girl who looks no older than 10 years old can outrun grown men, a motorcycle and a car and do parkour? I know for action films some suspension of disbelief is required, but there are too many plot holes and gaps in logic for that to occur. In an early scene Cataleya begs her uncle to teach her how to kill whilst outside her new school in broad daylight, but he tells her she’s too young and reckless. In a major disconnect, he then shoots at a random car, causes a car crash and has probably killed the driver too, and he stills lectures her about her recklessness in the middle of dozens of witnesses and to top it off he just casually walks away as the police arrive! Are you serious?!
In another gap of logic, the lead FBI agent Ross (Lennie James) who is investigating Cataleya’s killings dismisses the possibility of the killer being a woman. No joke. He actually says ‘A woman, that’s impossible!’ Why is it impossible to believe? Why is this guy in charge? But that’s not all, Cataleya’s kills seem too perfect, and since we never see the planning process of her assassinations it all seems very contrived. Normally I wouldn’t mind this (True Lies is awesome because it’s absurd) but this film takes itself too seriously that these moments of absurdity become too hard to ignore and to be honest had me laughing out loud while I was watching this in a cinema (hey I couldn’t help it okay). I wouldn’t recommend this to anybody; it’s just not worth paying to see on the big screen.
Verdict: A rental at best.