By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violent action movie is all about killing and revenge.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's overall message is one of revenge, and the main character destroys everything in her life to carry it out.
Positive Role Models
The main character's life has been shaped by violence and revenge. She kills in cold blood and rarely pays any consequences for those actions. All of her relationships suffer, and she loses almost everything important in her life. She sometimes weeps at these losses, but it's hard to imagine that she would have changed anything.
Violence & Scariness
For the film's first half hour, there's incredible violence as experienced by a 9-year-old girl. Her parents are murdered in front of her. She stabs a man in the hand and leads several other men on a high-action chase. She climbs and jumps from high heights. The men shoot at her, but she escapes. As an adult, the main character devotes her life to revenge and killing. She shoots and kills several men. Viewers see dead bodies and blood. There are hand-to-hand fights, stabbings, and explosions. Men are devoured by both sharks and dogs (mostly off screen).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main character and her boyfriend have sex, though nothing is shown. A bad guy goes to bed with four voluptuous, bikini-clad women, though there's no nudity. The main character appears in an array of sexy outfits, including a slightly see-through tank top in one scene, and underwear in another. She also takes a shower (nothing sensitive shown). Brief innuendo.
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Language is strong but fairly infrequent. Words include one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bastard," "son of a bitch," "ass," and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
A character has an iPhone that's prominently on display.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults -- mainly the bad guys -- drink cognac and champagne and smoke cigars in a background kind of way.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this action movie from producer/writer Luc Besson (The Transporter, Taken) is rated PG-13, it's very violent and intense, revolving around the brutal murder of a 9-year-old girl's family and her subsequent dedication to revenge. There are lots of killings, and the main character kills without any punishment (except for the fact that she has lost all of her loved ones). There's no nudity, but the main character (played by popular Avatar actress Zoe Saldana) wears an array of tight/revealing outfits -- including a see-through tank top -- and there's lots of sexual suggestion. Language is infrequent but includes "f--k" and more than one use of "s--t." Bad guys drink cognac and smoke cigars from time to time.
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Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 9 parent reviews
Great movie but not for teens.
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Once they go to the restroom you know something interesting is going to happen
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What's the Story?
As a 9-year-old, Cataleya sees her mother and father killed by Colombian kingpins. She escapes to Chicago, where she's raised by her gangster uncle (Cliff Curtis). She grows up with a thirst for revenge and killing; she becomes a contract killer (played by Zoe Saldana) but carries out her own secret revenge on the side, leaving calling cards -- a drawing of an orchid -- in the hopes of reaching the big boss. Unfortunately, Special Agent Ross (Lennie James) is hot on her trail, and she has made the mistake of finding a part-time boyfriend in artist Danny Delanay (Michael Vartan). Can Cataleya complete her longtime goal before the trail of dead bodies becomes too much?
Is It Any Good?
Overall, the movie has enough clever chases, break-ins, and escapes -- not to mention a sweet, small tragic romance -- to make it worthwhile. But this isn't one of Besson's stronger efforts. It's by turns effective, silly, and sluggish, sometimes forgetting the usual slick, lightweight mood of Besson's best films. Colombiana has a great deal in common with Besson's films La Femme Nikita and The Professional, but it lacks the former's pathos and the latter's warmth.
Though producer/writer Luc Besson has endorsed a stable of good action directors over the years, Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) is one of the most bombastic; his action is a little less slick and a little harder than that of his colleagues. Here Besson and Megaton have focused on a female character shaped by violence as a young girl who grows into an adult life of irredeemable killing and revenge.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. How is the violence portrayed in the scenes with the 9-year-old girl, as opposed to the scenes with the grown-up character?
What message does the movie send about revenge? Does it make you feel better to "get back" at someone who has wronged you? Is violent vengeance ever justified?
Is the main character a heroine? What makes her interesting?
- In theaters: August 26, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: December 20, 2011
- Cast: Cliff Curtis, Michael Vartan, Zoe Saldana
- Director: Olivier Megaton
- Inclusion Information: Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors, Black actors, Latinx actors
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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