With Colombiana, French producer and scriptwriter Luc Besson follows his own beaten track. The action veteran offers in his new actioner a variation of Leon: The Professional, one of his biggest successes. Again a young girl has to watch her parents getting brutally murdered by gangsters and so she swears to take revenge on them. 15 years later, the moment for Cataleya has come, now she is tightening the noose on the boss of the cartel while she also puts herself in great danger. Zoe Saldana plays the female killer quite well even though she appears to be a little bit 'fragile'. The action itself is pretty solid and worth watching, in terms of story the one or other inconsistency has to be ignored, then Colombiana can satisfy the not too highbrow action fan.
The publishing situation here is quite similar to the one of Taken: the US theatrical version had to be censored extensively for getting the PG-13 rating (for violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language), which is more suitable for the mass. The European theatrical version was longer.
An unrated version for home cinemas was announced in the USA, so one could think this would be the international version, but this is not the case. The Unrated version is a third version which differs a lot from the international theatrical version (and of course from the US PG-13 version). Unfortunately, the PG-13 version is not included on any home cinema release. Beside it's US theatrical release, the PG-13 version is only available as rental-exclusive DVD from some companies like Redbox in the USA or as Video on Demand version (e.g. from Amazon). At the moment, thatís why we have to disappoint US readers which are interested in the differences between the PG-13 and the Unrated version. If you can help us with getting the PG-13 version, please contact us.
What's interesting regarding this is that director Olivier Megaton explains in the audio commentary during the first scene, in which Cataleya's parents die, that he prefers the version where the killing isn't depicted (International Theatrical version). The more brutal version, which is contained in the US Unrated version, was also done by him but when he saw it afterwards he decided not to use it. So the International theatrical version is supposedly his Director's Cut, not the more brutal US Unrated version.
Compared were the Unrated Version (contained on the US DVD/BD by Sony) and the International Theatrical Version (contained on the French BD (with DVD) by EuropaCorps).
3 Extended Scenes
2 Alternative Scenes
1 Scene with Alternative Footage
The Unrated version is 236,28 sec. respectively ca. 3 minutes and 57 seconds longer than the International Theatrical version.
0:08:51: A major difference between the two versions can already be found very early at the beginning of the film. Just calling it alternative footage wouldn't do justice to the difference so indeed it can be considered as two distinct scenes. It's explained here, what happens in the peculiar scenes, starting with the Theatrical version:
After Cataleya's parents have entered the staircase while shooting, the camera slowly tracks in on Cataleya sitting at the table, the focus stays on her face. Her vacant stare indicates that she's supposedly watching her parents get killed by Don Luis' men. The killing itself takes place off-screen. Then some henchmen come upstairs, followed by Marco. First, he goes over to a dresser and takes up a picture, then one of the gangsters leaves. Marco sits down at the table with Cataleya and the conversation begins.
This scene runs 55,48 seconds (PAL)
When Cataleya's parents face the gangsters, Cataleya is shown here too, sitting at the table, but there are repeatedly several cuts back and forth between her and her parent's death. At first, the mother comes running up the stairs but she gets hit by several bullets which is shown in slow motion. She falls on the floor and looks at Cataleya in pain and shock with her eyes wide open. Then her father, who's still shooting, follows, but he also gets riddled with bullets, again in slow motion. He looks at his daughter, then to his wife lying almost dead on the floor. A few seconds later, they both die of their injuries.
Marco and the others coming up the stairs is depicted in alternative shots. Cataleya's dead parents lying on the floor are visible in the picture almost the whole time. Marco goes over to the two corpses, sits down besides Fabio and says: "Fabio. You should know that you don't leave Don Luis. Only die."
Then he and Cataleya look at each other and he goes over to the dresser. In the meantime the other guy in the room pulls his gun and points it at Cataleya's head to kill her, but Marco intervenes.
Marco: "Hey. What are you doing?"
Gangster: "Don Luis said: kill everyone."
Marco: "He also said: no names."
Gangster: "She won't remember."
Marco: "She's a kid."
Gangster: "So what?"
Marco: "What do you mean: so what? Hm? What do you mean?"
The gangster puts his gun down.
Marco: "Go do your job.".
The gangster turns around and leaves the room.
This scene runs 167,56 seconds (NTSC)
RUNTIME DIFFERENCE OF THE TWO SCENES: 112,08 Sec.
0:15:06: After the tracking shot over the housing area, both versions have some different shots of Cataleya's escape.
The Theatrical version runs 4,68 sec. longer
0:15:12: Again the difference is that extensive that this could be called a new scene in the Unrated version. Here, Cataleya's escape is much longer. While she suddenly already gets pursued by the cars in the Theatrical version, she flees over a ladder onto a roof in the Unrated version, followed by the gangsters. But they don't find her because she hides in a water tank. Just when she walks out on the street again, thinking she lost her pursuers, the cars appear again.
0:37:58: When Rizzo asks her who she is, Cataleya answers just in the Unrated: "Not room service."
0:59:51: There's an additional shot of Woogard and the girls sleeping in the bed.
0:59:54: In the Unrated, Cataleya walks slowly towards the bed in which Woogard and his girls sleep peacefully. She obviously thinks about shooting Woogard right there and points the gun at him. The camera tracks in on her face.
In compensation, the shot of those people lying in the bed is longer in the Theatrical version.
The Unrated runs 31,56 Sec. longer