"Stuck Between Two Rocks and a Hard Place"
MISS BALA is an English language remake of a 2012 Mexican movie, where Gina Rodriguez of TV’s JANE THE VIRGIN stars as a young makeup artist visiting her friend in Tijuana and getting mixed up in a war between a local drug lord and arms smuggler and the corrupt police chief. MISS BALA is a somewhat cleaned-up version of the Mexican movie, with an excellent performance by Gina Rodriguez, but the movie’s positive elements are still marred by lots of foul language, intense violence and some moral ambiguity.
Miss Rodriuguez plays Gloria Fuentes, an Hispanic makeup artist living in Los Angeles who travels to Tijuana to help her friend, Susan, in the annual Miss Baja California beauty pageant.
As Gloria, Gina Rodriguez of TV’s JANE THE VIRGIN comes into her own in MISS BALA. She’s totally believable and particularly shines in the dialogue scenes, not just the action scenes. The rest of the cast is also good, but Ismael Cruz Cordova is especially good as the charismatic and complex but devious drug lord. The movie’s other above-the-line aspects are reasonably compelling but not particularly noteworthy.
Not only is MISS BALA more entertaining and less preachy than the original movie. It’s also a somewhat cleaned-up version of the 2012 Mexican movie. For example, the Mexican movie had a lot of “f” words, but the new movie only has one. Also, the Mexican movie had a depicted sex scene and brief explicit nudity, but the new movie doesn’t. Finally, the Mexican movie took a false humanist, liberal and even libertarian position against any attempt to enforce the war against illegal drugs and against making any attempt to regulate the production and distribution of mind-altering drugs. The new movie acknowledges that police corruption can blur the lines between the criminals and the police. It also shows that the local drug lord, Lino, has a complex character where his good traits have been corrupted by his sinful nature, his corrupt surroundings and his selfish survival instincts. Gloria has some strong survival instincts herself, but she’s also motivated by her desire to save her friend and protect her friend’s younger brother, as well as her stronger sense of what’s right and wrong. In the end, she makes decisions where she rejects the moral corruption that’s infected both Lino and his nemesis, the corrupt police chief.
That said, MISS BALA still has some foul language, intense violence, innuendo, and moments that blur some moral lines. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
MISS BALA is an English language remake of a 2012 Mexican movie. Gina Rodriguez of TV’s JANE THE VIRGIN plays Gloria, a young makeup artist visiting her friend in Tijuana. There, Gloria gets mixed up in a war among a local drug lord and arms smuggler, the city’s corrupt sheriff and American drug enforcement agents. Gloria’s friend goes missing after the drug lord and his men shoot up a nightclub while unsuccessfully trying to assassinate the sheriff. Gloria gets kidnapped by the drug lord, who forces her to do some things for him in exchange for finding her friend. An American drug agent wants Gloria to help them stop the drug lord.
As Gloria, Gina Rodriguez comes into her own in MISS BALA. She’s totally believable. The rest of the movie is good but not outstanding. MISS BALA is a somewhat cleaned-up and more entertaining version of the Mexican movie. It has less objectionable content, and the worldview is more moral. That said, MISS BALA has some foul language, intense violence, innuendo, and moments that blur moral lines. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.