Colombiana isn’t offensive, now go away

by Eric Jude Cortes

Did you see summer’s latest great action movie? It had violence, explosions, sex, and an attractive woman! You can’t ask for anything more in a summer movie. But you may have ignored this movie because you were too busy writing angry blogs about it, or dismissing it as being culturally insensitive. This isn’t a review of Colombiana, though, this is an article about why I don’t think that the film is offensive.

Everyone likes lists, so allow me to make a list of criticisms of Colombiana, and for each criticism, explain why I disagree.

  1. The lead actress should have been of Colombian ancestry.
    Why? I mean Zoe Saldana is Dominican and Puerto Rican, is that not good enough? At a time when jobs for minority actresses are still scarce, we should be applauding the fact that one of our sisters has the lead in a film, not get mad because she is from the “wrong” Latin American country. Does she not look Colombian? Go to a coastal city like Cartagena, Barranquilla, or Santa Marta and you’ll see plenty of women who look like Zoe Saldana. Would the critics prefer we return to the days of West Side Story, where nearly all the Puerto Rican characters in the film were played by Anglos? Auditions were held, and a minority got the job, be happy.
  2. The film portrays Colombia in a negative light.
    You can replace the word “Colombia” with the name of any nation, city, or village, that ever been the portrayed in a film in which drugs are dealt or someone is killed.
    Having spent time in Colombia as well, I found it to be beautiful country, with beaches, rainforests, indigenous ruins, and Spanish architecture. But have drugs ever been dealt and families wiped out by gang members? For sure! Only about ten minutes of Colombiana actually took place in the Bogota, and the ten minutes were scenes of a drug related fighting and a chase sequence, not some sort of polemic on how crappy a place Colombia is.
  3. The film’s title is inappropriate.
    This response was originally a three paragraph tirade referencing Crooklyn, LA Confidential, Rumble in the Bronx, or the plenty of other films with geographic titles, and crime. But let’s just cut the discussion at this: the film is about a Colombian woman in the U.S. seeking revenge on her parents’ killers. Accept it, and move on with your life.

As Latinos, there are plenty of things we could be doing with our time: starting businesses, volunteering, exercising, or dancing. But there are some of you who wish to complain about an action movie with a Latina lead and minority-heavy supporting cast. Watch the movie and you be the judge.

To learn more about Eric, randomly bump into him on the street and politely ask him some questions.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of
the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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4 Comments to “Colombiana isn’t offensive, now go away”

  1. As a ‘Colombiana’ I feel to slap anyone who says Colombiana protrays Colombia in a negative way, and that Zoe Saldana shud not have played the role becus she isnt Colombian… seriously!! those two statements are just plain stupid!

  2. Its a movie not a documentary….People should support the talented Latinos in the film industry…and may i say, i enjoyed and loved the action packed movie.

  3. My only question is why producers/directors aren’t creating more opportunities for Latino-based movies (that actually make it to the big screen) without focusing on drug lords, prison or domestic violence. Latinos should be portrayed in a constant positive light. Oh, and here’s a newsflash … we need to stop calling ourselves the “minority” desde ahora! Let’s claim our position in today’s society by acknowledging our true talents & contributions, because pretty soon we’ll be the “majority” (as we are in some parts). I saw the movie and thought it was merely okay. It would’ve been nice to hear Zoe actually speak an entire sentence in Spanish, or even an entire conversation! Heck, they could’ve used subtitles. It was an emotionally-charged action flick that just happened to be titled, “Colombiana.”

  4. The lateTelly Savalas was a greek american and he played a role as Benito Mussolini who was an italian, O I’m sorry they were both white, my bad 😉

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