The Five Best Films Starring Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana is one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses. She has starred in some of the biggest franchises, including Avatar and Star Trek.

Her breakthrough role in 2000’s Center Stage as a passionate ballet dancer put her on the map. She then went on to starring roles in James Cameron’s Avatar and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

1. Avatar

In 2009, Saldana’s talent and dedication to her craft paid off with the massive success of Avatar, which earned more than $385 million worldwide. She was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of xenos hunter Neytiri. The film addressed a variety of issues including environmental destruction, militarism, and corporate greed.

More than a decade after the events of Avatar, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana reprise their roles in this sequel. The pair are now married with Na’vi children, one of which is their adopted daughter Kiri (played through performance capture by Sigourney Weaver). Their squabbles and adventures bring youthful energy to the myth-laden narrative. This flixtor film is essentially Dances with Wolves or The Last Samurai, just in space/on another planet. It’s a must-see for science fiction fans and Saldana lovers alike.

2. Star Trek

Zoe Saldana is one of the most bankable actors working today, with a handful of roles in some of the top-grossing franchises around. She made her name in 2009’s Avatar, but it was James Cameron’s follow-up Avatar: The Last Mission that really put Saldana on the map as a major star.

This movie is packed with cutting-edge special effects, but they don’t overwhelm the story or get bogged down in technobabble gobbledygook. It’s also not afraid to embrace emotion, which is a welcome change of pace from other sci-fi action films.

After a few less prominent movies, Saldana returned to the big screen in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and then the Avengers blockbusters. Her latest role is The Adam Project, a Netflix original that stars Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, and Mark Ruffalo. It follows a time traveler who teams up with his 13-year-old self to prevent future tragedies.

3. Colombiana

Originally made for Luc Besson as a sequel to his 1994 hit, Leon: The Professional, Colombiana stars Saldana as Cataleya Restrepo, a Colombian woman who seeks revenge on those responsible for her parents’ deaths. A deadly professional, she scales walls, lays homemade explosive charges, swims with sharks, and kills her targets without hesitation.

Although the film’s visual palette veers into the bland realm of earthen browns, ochre yellows, and desaturated emerald greens, there’s no denying that Saldana is a formidable action heroine. Her nimble physique is a marvel to behold as she outruns, outwits and, ultimately, kills a small army of bodyguards. That said, she lacks Nina Simone’s gravitas and resonance. Still, she’s worth watching. Especially for the spectacular set pieces. And the form-hugging suit. And the fact that she doesn’t wear a bra. And the fact that she can pick locks.

4. The Absence of Eden

Zoe Saldana is a talented actress who’s capable of tackling a variety of genres. She made her mark in ballet films like Center Stage and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, then grew into an action star with Avatar and its sequels. She can also be seen as Uhura in the rebooted Star Trek franchise.

While Absence of Eden began as an art project, it inevitably delves into political themes. The story explores the reality of immigration at the United States’ southern border, where Coyotes, ICE agents and refugees find themselves in gripping moral dilemmas. For Saldana, the subject matter speaks to her roots as a Latina. She finds the narrative both bold and truthful.

5. Premium

The actress’s ability to portray action-oriented roles is highlighted in this Colombiana movie. Saldana proves she’s a force to be reckoned with as contract killer Cataleya Restrepo, whose work involves disguises and assassinations. One scene in particular has her escaping a SWAT team and then taking out a whole gang right after.

It took 13 years for James Cameron’s sci-fi epic to return, but the film was well worth the wait. It left audiences awestruck and shattered box office records.

Saldana proves she can handle the pressure of being the main character of a blockbuster franchise in this movie. Although she recently announced that this will be her last turn as Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, she’s definitely made an impression with her performance. She and Peter Quill/Star Lord have a complicated relationship, which makes Gamora a compelling character to follow.

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