Published on February 5th, 2019 | by Dan Nicholls


Miss Bala

Yet another Americanized remake of a foreign property has issues translating all the things that worked from the source material, with new film, Miss Bala.

The new movie Miss Bala tries to mix politics with liberal gunplay and pours out a bland and dreary cocktail of boredom. As the leading lady, Gina Rodriguez is an immensely talented and likeable performer. She’s so woefully underserved by the script here that she perhaps comes out looking even better as a result, but Rodriguez really does make a strong case for herself as an action leading lady worth being offered the top-shelf stuff.

Our heroine Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) is a makeup artist in L.A. who’s headed down south to Tijuana where her best friend Suzu (Cristina Rodio) is about to enter the Miss Baja California beauty pageant. An evening out at the wrong club at the wrong time sends their lives into a spiral of one bad thing after another. Suzu is missing and Gloria’s on a quest to find her but gets caught in the web of a ruthless cartel run by Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova).

Gloria is forced into being a drug mule for Lino in exchange for staying alive and the dangling carrot of maybe possibly some information that would lead her to Suzu. The DEA also immediately swoops her up and some greasy agents force her into being a snitch on Lino’s operation. So, she’s got trouble coming at her from every direction and little hope to find her friend or save herself. But Gloria’s a survivor and a badass – when she takes control she’s in command of everything on screen.

Sadly, those electric moments found during the action sequences are few and far between. Director Catherine Hardwicke pulls off every gun fight with expert style – they’re the highlights of the movie. But the troubling aspects of how certain characters and events are meant to be empathized with makes Miss Bala questionable at best and laughable at worst. The weak dialogue and predictable screenplay all undermine Rodriguez and Hardwicke’s efforts.

A remake of a far more successful 2011 Mexican film, Miss Bala hits the action beats with gusto but fails to make any other area compelling or even competent. Hopefully Hollywood puts Gina Rodriguez on the list for bigger and better roles in the future – she’s great even if she’s the only thing around that is.

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is a Vancouver-based, lifelong movie geek who's been a projectionist, critic, director, (accidental) actor, and writer in the industry since E.T. phoned home. @dannicholls

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