Okay, Angelina Jolie may just as well hang it up. We have embraced a new, skinny, gorgeous, female action star! Zoë Saldana is ready for her closeup... (Remember her in "Centerstage" as a teenage ballet dancer?)
When Luc Besson ("Taken") writes the screenplay for a movie to be directed by Olivier Megaton ("Transporter 3"), brace yourself for a LOT of action. In my opinion, Besson has created the adult version of Natalie Portman's Leon-trained assassin from "The Professional." Saldana is a capable, athletic gal who can deliver the goods, and the Besson/Megaton team can deliver an audience pleaser.
Here's who they work with:
* Amandla Stenberg ("The Hunger Games") is perfect as a nine- year-old girl whose parents are killed in Columbia as the film opens. She is the quarry during an exciting chase sequence which starts the action: Leaping off buildings, dashing down alleys, diving into drains... Yup... Parkour... my favorite! This young actress looks like she could grow up to be...
* Zoë Saldana ("Star Trek"), our heroine, orphaned since childhood, an assassin since adulthood, and still seeking revenge for her parents' murder 19 years ago. She is smart, cold-blooded and has nerves of steel. Her vigilantism won't be done till she kills the kingpin.
* Michael Vartan ("Jolene") is her lover, an artist who evidently can't afford a razor blade...sigh.
* Cliff Curtis ("The Last Airbender") is her uncle who gave her a choice when she fled Bogota to Chicago at age nine: Grab a gun and shoot people, or go to school and be really smart about revenge. Guess which she picked?
* Lennie James ("The Next Three Days") is the FBI agent who identifies the mysterious killer behind the deaths of 23 thugs associated with drugs. His biggest problem seems to be the CIA.
This actioner is exciting, Saldana is perfect, and the movie remains carefully PG-13 (three bits of profanity, we don't see any of the bullets splatter blood, and sex scenes fade out as the guy slips off his t-shirt). There is a LOT of gunfire and some really satisfying blowie uppie stuff.
This is entertaining, but be sure to suspend disbelief! I got my DVD from Amazon.