Zoe Saldana is hot for the moment. The would be Uhura replacement on the rebooted "Star Trek" (she can never come close to replacing Nichelle Nichols) has been voted one of the hottest women on Maxxim's top 100 hottest women.


So she's doing the smart thing and cashing in on her popularity by taking whatever Hollywood throws her way. Even the crap.


We saw this coming when she appeared as an action figure in "The Losers". I guess it was decided that people like seeing a skinny girl carrying a big gun so they now have her carrying a big gun and doing amazing stunts ala Angelina Jolie.

"Columbiana" opens in the crime-ridden streets of Bogata, Columbia. Young Cataleya Restrepo (Amandla Stenberg in her debut) is getting counseled by her dad on how to get to the United States on her own. You see, there is an army of drug cartel members waiting outside to slaughter her parents.


Sure enough, the parents arm themselves, go out and get wasted. Young Cataleya Restrepo now must escape on her own which brings us to the first of many fantastically improbable [and impossible] scenes as this little girl out runs bullets and thugs with dazzling feats even the best trained stunt man couldn't pull off. She gets away and joins with her uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis) in Chicago.


We then fast forward to present day where Cataleya has grown to adulthood (Saldana) as a cold blooded killer bent on getting revenge on the murder of her parents.


Her calling card is a drawing she retained from her childhood. She needs a calling card because she's practicing the revenge thing as a hired gun, killing whomever she needs to kill. but most have absolutely nothing to do with the cartel head. In fact, she's not even sure he's still alive!

That is until she finds a clue on one of the corpses she's created. Now [finally] it's revenge time. But first how about a romantic interlude with a useless guy named Danny (Michael Vartan) while the FBI (Max Martini and Lennie James) gets suspicious.


Yeah, this is a really weak story. Even weaker than the recent "Hanna" and "Salt". And those were pretty weak! But there is plenty of action - believable or not - to sate action fans.


Aside from the ludicrous story, Saldana does nothing to convince that she's tough. Leggy? yes. Tough, no. Slinky? Yes. Tough? Nope! Although I would say she would easily have made a better selection for Catwoman than Anne Hathaway; that's my early call. That said, I would be remiss not to mention that Amandla Stenberg rocked in her brief appearance. SHE, somehow was more believable than Saldana!


"Columbiana" is a filler film for Zoe Saldana while the next segment of Star Trek is filmed. It could be perceived as stupid fun if you are a big fan of Saldana, but it's actually just a time waster.   -- GEOFF BURTON