Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zoe Saldana is a bad girl...

Finally watched "Colombiana" last night. I originally was kind of hesitant about watching it. Y'know, the whole Bad Girl with Big Gun thing and the best part of it being that Zoe Saldana was in the movie.
I was pleasantly suprised.
First off, it was written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, who also have the very successful films, "Taken", "The Professional" and "The Fifth Element" under their belts. Luc Besson doesn't do one dimensional stories, whether it's a perfect being discovering themselves while saving the world, a father searching for his daughter and tearing Paris apart as he does it or a cleaner passing along his knowledge and learning to live and love for the first time in his life, he has more going on than just the mayhem on screen. That was definitely the case with "Colombiana."
The story openes in Bogata circa 1992 with Cataleya's (Zoe Saldana) parents being killed in front of her by men in the employ of Don Luis. She escapes thanks to her father prepping a way out of Colombia and passage to get to relatives in Chicago. Her uncle Emilio, played by Cliff Curtis, is a career criminal, like her father, and tries to direct Cateleya out of a life of crime, but all she sees is revenge and he reluctantly educates her in the family business and wetworks.
We smash cut 15 years later and discover Cataleya has become a very successful assassin who is able to get to anyone, anywhere. Unfortunately, her preoccupation with revenge threatens to expose her to the FBI, who have been chasing her for years and Don Luis. It all comes to a head when Cataleya's boyfriend (Michael Vartan) takes a photo of her and his friend, wanting to do a background check on his boys' mysterious girlfriend, ends up getting her found, along with her remaining family.
The ending is predictably bloody, but the violence isn't gratuitous or spattered across the screen.
A lot of the critics didn't like the movie, but though it's not exactly high art, it is a good story with a lot of action and a lot of heart.

Obviously, she knows how to handle a gun...lol

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Notes on the Passage...

I recently finished "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. It was an awesome book, not to mention long. (800 pages! I didn't know what I was getting into because I got the Kindle version of the book.)
The story starts in the present with a U.S. Army sponsered expedition to a remote part of the Amazon to somehow use the attributes of  the vampire bat (Regeneration and longevity) in soildiers. Something happens where the whole of the expeditionary group is killed except for the lead scientist who makes it back to the States. Additionally,  a little girl named Amy, who has a strange affinity for animals, gets left at a convent in Memphis by her mother. She's taken into a government facility in Colorado to be part of the same vampire bat experiment. Twelve death row inmates are inoculated with a viral substance that was developed by the scientist who escaped from the Amazon.
As expected, the experiment goes wrong and the real fun begins...
Smash forward to 100 years in the future and most of humanity has been wiped out by a vampire-like group called Virals. In a colony of survivor's we meet Peter Jaxon, a survivor who is a member of the Watch, the people who are the equivilent of soldiers. We follow him as he struggles with finding his place among the Watch, since his brother is considered the golden boy and Peter has an intense curiosity about the world before the Virals took over.
Mr. Cronin is a gifted storryteller and whether it's now or the post-apocalyptic world of the Viral ravaged future, all of it feels real and believeable. All the characters are engaging and ultimately very human. The Virals, who remind me of the vamps in "30 Days of Night", are frightening and savage and seem a totally implacable foe until Amy retuns to the story, looking about 13-14 years old, but is actually over 100 years old, and saves Peter during an attack on a scavanging run.
From that point, a lot of questions that Peter has start to get answered and he gets his heroes' quest and grows into the man he longs to be.
I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of sprawling epics like Stephen King's "The Stand" or "The Lord of the Rings". The book is being made into a movie slated to be released in 2013 and a sequel called "The Twelve" is coming out a little later out this year. Yes, I will be getting it and continuing on this journey.

                                                         The U.S. cover

                                                       The U.K. cover

                                                    The Mass Market Paperback cover