Colombiana is a 2011 French English-language action thriller film co-written and produced by Luc Besson and directed by Olivier Megaton. The film stars Zoe Saldana with supporting roles by Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis, Lennie James, Callum Blue, and Jordi Mollà. “Colombiana” means a woman from Colombia. The film is about Cataleya (also a genus of orchids), a nine-year-old girl in Colombia whose family is killed by a drug lord. Fifteen years later, a grown Cataleya seeks her revenge.
While the film had a generally negative reception from critics, Saldana’s action sequences were praised and the movie earned $63.4 million against a $40 million budget.
In 1992, in Bogota, Colombia, a drug lord Don Luis Sandoval sends his henchman Marco and a group of killers to kill Fabio Restrepo and his family because Fabio is intent on leaving the life of crime behind. Fabio gives his nine-year-old daughter Cataleya a SmartMedia computer memory card with the information on Don Luis’ business and tells her it’s her “passport”; he also gives her the address of her uncle Emilio, a criminal in Chicago, who will take care of her. The last thing he gives her is his mother’s cataleya orchid necklace. However, Fabio and his wife Alicia are gunned down as Cataleya escapes to the United States after handing over the memory card to the U.S. Embassy, later escaping their grasp as well. Cataleya finds her uncle Emilio in Chicago and asks him to train her as a killer.
Fifteen years later, a grown Cataleya has become an accomplished assassin. Her uncle serves as her broker, providing her with contracts. With each murder she commits, she leaves her signature, the Cattleya flower, which is a message to her ultimate target, Don Luis. When Emilio finds out that Cataleya is killing outside of the contracts as well, he begs her to stop as attracting Don Luis’ attention will only endanger their lives, but she refuses and they have a falling out. After spending the night with boyfriend Danny Delanay, Danny takes a photo of her sleeping and then shows it to a friend, who then has her investigated for a background check.
After learning about this Colombian orchid, FBI agent James Ross can now link this case to more than twenty other cases and tracks. They get a pin on Cataleya’s photo from her being investigated and track her down to her unit but Cataleya escapes and reaches out to Emilio, whom she finds dead along with the rest of the family. She then confronts Ross at his home and threatens his family, forcing him to reach out to CIA agent Steve Richard, who oversees the witness protection program over Don Luis. With the threat on Richard’s life as well, she is given the address to where Don Luis resides.
Meanwhile, Don Luis learns that Cataleya is in the U.S. and plans to eradicate her but she ambushes them before killing the entire gang. She also confronts, fights and kills Marco before Don Luis flees and swears revenge. Cataleya had left her attack dogs in his escape vehicle and they kill the Don on her command. Danny is last seen being interrogated by Ross but once Ross steps out, Cataleya calls him from a payphone before getting on a greyhound bus.