Ay caramba, Zoe Saldana es la Latina Nikita! In this Luc Besson-scripted actioner, the female lead of Avatar and Star Trek plays a slinky assassin hell-bent on taking down the Colombian crime cartel who gunned down her parents when she was a child. Raised and employed by her gangster uncle in Chicago, the avenging angel leaves no trace except her orchid trademark on every hit. But, thanks to her unwitting boyfriend (Michael Vartan), the FBI is closing in. More weapons-grade revenge malarkey from the people who brought you Taken and The Transporter.
The last time most people saw Zoe Saldana in action (not counting the sparse few who saw The Losers), she was a nine-foot smurf flying around a magical forest on the back of a dragon.
Would that her character here possessed the same credibility.
Written by Gallic action specialist Luc Besson and his regular partner-in-crime Robert Mark Kamen, and directed by Transporter 3's Olivier Megaton with all the finesse his name implies, Colombiana is the stupendously daft tale of Cataleya, a wide-eyed poppet from Bogota who grows up to be the slipperiest hitwoman on the FBI's books.
As a nine-year-old in 1992, Cataleya barely escapes the bullet-strewn consequences of a disagreement between her father and his Colombian crimelord boss before puking her way into FBI protection (seriously).
After giving the Feds the slip (the old "gotta use the toilet" ruse never fails), she seeks out her shady Uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis) in Chicago and begs him for killing lessons.
Now she is his deadliest employee, picking off his enemies with fiendish aplomb. The only sign that she was there is the orchid she draws on every corpse as a message to her parents' murderers. Look out amigos, she's coming.
And while the FBI - represented by the idiot-savant Agent Ross (James) - and the CIA want her out of the picture for different reasons, our slinky heroine is always one step ahead.
Until, that is, her unsuspecting boyfriend (Vartan) inadvertently puts her on everyone's radar.
It's tongue-lolling nonsense, driven by the sort of cliches and contrivances that will have even the most gullible viewers sweeping aside their Cow & Gate dinners in disbelief.
And while the trappings may be slick, both plot and dialogue belong in the grindhouse. With no sense of humour and long lulls between action, director Megaton appears primarily concerned with coming up with as many different ways of getting Saldana down to her skimpies as possible.
So we get Cataleya in a catsuit, in a wetsuit, in lingerie, in hot-pants, crop-tops, kinky boots and peekaboo vests, in bed, in the shower, in the bath, and - to really get tongues lolling - in a dirty boiler suit. Phwoar!
But come on now, boys, it's time to wipe your chins and put those crayons away.