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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Colombiana

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Two things to note about Cataleya, the central character in the over-the-top action flick "Colombiana" (TriStar/Stage 6): As a trained assassin, she's very good at killing people; as played by Zoe Saldana, she's even better at looking good while she does it.

Lest you miss the latter point, Cataleya conveniently dons a skintight black leotard to carry out one of her elaborate trademark hits.

What's a nice girl like her doing in the death-for-dollars racket? Well, way back in 1992, as early scenes show us, young Bogota-born Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) witnessed the fatal outcome of a tiff between her parents and her father's employer, a Colombian drug lord named Don Luis (Beto Benites).

Making her way to the States, the orphaned Cataleya found shelter with her gangster uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis), a thug with a heart of gold—if only for his kith and kin.

Already out for revenge against Don Luis and his chief minion Marco (Jordi Molla), the traumatized tot demanded that Tio Emilio immediately teach her how to introduce folks to the Big Sleep. With avuncular wisdom, however, he insisted that she graduate from grammar school first.

Flash forward to the current millennium and we find Cataleya executing contracts for Emilio while still pursuing her dreams of vengeance. But an FBI agent named Ross (Lennie James), though remarkably slow on the uptake, is at least lukewarm on her trail, while her heretofore anonymous romance with increasingly nosy artist Danny (Michael Vartan) also threatens to thwart her plans.

Pure pulp, director Olivier Megaton's shoot'em-up expends ammo at a "Scarface" pace, yet generally demurs from showing the gory consequences of its gun battles, or of its heroine's more creative rub-outs, such as that involving a shark tank.

Catholic viewers may be wryly amused by the fact that Emilio is portrayed as attending Sunday Mass on a regular basis, accompanied by his elderly mother (Ofelia Medina), who still wears a mantilla to church. Like many a mafia don on screen and—who knows?—perhaps off it as well, he seems not to have noticed that Gospel values and a life of violent crime are just a tad incongruous.

Maybe he missed that Sunday.

The film contains constant, largely bloodless, action violence, a vengeance theme, brief nongraphic premarital sexual activity, a few uses of profanity, at least one instance of rough language and frequent crude or crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Elizabeth of Portugal: Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus fortunately prepared, she was able to meet the challenge when, at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom. 
<p>He, too, was the object of many of her peace endeavors. She long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son, Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favor the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, she set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.</p> American Catholic Blog In the name of the Father, use my mind to bring you honor, and of the Son, fill my heart to spread your word, and of the Holy Spirit, strengthen me to carry you out to all the world. Amen.

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