Action thriller film Miss Bala is entertaining for the most part and has an okayish story, but certainly isn’t anything special. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, it bombed at box office, so far earning $9.2 million against a $15 million budget.
Gloria Fuentes (Gina Rodriguez), a makeup artist from Los Angeles, visits her best friend, Suzu Ramos (Cristina Rodlo), in Tijuana, Mexico. Suzu is a contestant in the Miss Baja California beauty pageant. The two friends go to party at a night club and soon spot Chief of Police Saucedo (Damian Alcazar), whom Suzu desperately wants to impress to improve her chances in the competition. When Gloria goes to the restroom, armed men break into through the bathroom’s vents.
Gloria is subsequently yanked out of her stall but they decide to give her time to escape instead of killing her. The attack on the club turns out to be an assassination attempt on Chief Saucedo. She successfully makes it out of the club, but can’t locate Suzu. Gloria waits at an eatery across the street until the next morning and, after still not being able to find her, asks a police officer for help. The officer turns out to be corrupt and turns her over to the Las Estrellas gang, who shot up the club.
Gloria is taken to meet the boss, Lino Esparza (Ismael Cruz Cordova). He agrees to help locate Suzu if she agrees to work for the gang. Gloria begrudgingly consents and is ordered to park a car on a corner. After doing so, she joins the gang at the top of a hill and watches the car blow up. The explosion takes down a building, which is later revealed to be a DEA safe house; three agents are killed. Lino then sends Gloria to the pageant, where she attempts to escape. She is able to leave but gets kidnapped again, this time by the DEA.
Threatened with years in prison if she doesn’t help them get Las Estrellas, Gloria agrees. She returns to Las Estrellas and smuggles money and drugs to San Diego. After arriving there, Gloria is given guns to take back to Mexico. She meets the gang in a parking lot and the police show up with the DEA. Rather than protecting her, the DEA leaves Gloria on her own and she decides to help an injured Lino, saving his life in the process. The incident makes Lino trust her, but he continues to essentially hold her hostage. Scared but resolute, Gloria presses on in the hope of finding her friend.
Miss Bala was, in a sense, perfectly sufficient. I had fun watching it and felt entertained throughout. But I wasn’t wowed. The action scenes were okay, the storyline bland, and the ending predictable. If you have some free time and want to see a movie for the sake of seeing a movie, go see Miss Bala. Otherwise, no worries.
I give Miss Bala two out of five stars.