"Colombiana" Gets the Shaft

A flurry of political protest over the movie and its name

By Se Fija! Online
Published on LatinoLA: August 25, 2011

"Colombiana" Gets the Shaft

You can't say that Zo?½ Salda??a hasn't had her share of good luck. Besides being stunningly beautiful and supremely talented, the 33-year-old actress has been part of some of the biggest and most successful films of the last few years, including "Avatar" and the remake of "Star Trek," and there is plenty yet to come. But her new headliner, the action-thriller "Colombiana," hasn't shared in a lot of that luckÔǪand that's really not fair.

The last few weeks there has been a flurry of political protest over the movie. Well, actually, not over the movie, but over the title. An activist group called ProColombia has made a lot of headlines condemning the movie and Sony Pictures in general for using the name of the country in the title, and implying therefore that all of Colombia is a vicious hellhole where children are forced to watch their parents murdered in front of them, thereby turning them into cold-hearted yet beautiful assassins when they grow up (oops, we gave it away: the premise of the film.)

The crazy thing is, nobody has seen the movie. For whatever reason (and yes, it is suspicious) Sony has chosen not to make "Colombiana" available to reviewers before its release this Friday. That could be because it's just so darn good, or has some sort of twist ending, that pre-release would blunt its effect. It could also be that, despite producer Luc Besson's best efforts, that it really isn't very good, and they're counting on Salda??a's star power to drive the first-weekend box office sight unseenbefore word gets around that it's a turkey. (It's also a little ironic that both "Colombiana" and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," both premiering on the same day, are more closely associated with their producers than their directors. Such is the nature of star power in Hollywood, 2011.)

Either way, all the publicity of late hasn't been about Salda??a, Besson or a thriller that seems to owe more to Besson's Taken than it does to anti-South American diatribes like "Proof of Life" or "Missing." It's based entirely on an admittedly powerful trailer and the title alone, which does a pretty major disservice to all the folks who worked hard on this film, regardless of the final outcome.

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