Don Reviews "Miss Bala"
The violence on the US/Mexico border has gone on for years with no apparent end in sight, and with the money that is being made through things like drugs and guns, there is no wonder why some people can be tempted into that lifestyle. With a perceived government that is rampant with corruption, it seems to be the recipe for endless violence.
This is the backdrop for “Miss Bala,” the latest film from director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) and stars Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virtin), Cristina Rodlo (Too Old to Die Young), Ricardo Abarca (Pacific), Ismael Cruz Cordova (The Catch), and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker). This remake of a 2011 film from Mexico is the story of Gloria (Rodriguez), a US Citizen who is a makeup artist. As she travels to Tijuana to visit her friend Suzu (Rodlo) and assist her in her quest to become Miss Baja California beauty pageant, they are witnesses to a mass shooting in a club by a gang. Gloria loses touch with Suzu and ends up being kidnapped by gang leader Lino (Cordova), who says he will let her go and help find her friend if she does certain tasks for him. Gloria is also confronted by the DEA, which traps her between the two groups, and what follows is a cat and mouse game between everyone involved.
The cinematography style is good here, showing the desert, the border, and some of the shadier areas in Mexico right to match the story. I see no awards for the performances by the cast, but Rodriguez does a fine job as someone who is going through a tough situation but never gives up. For those going to the film because of Mackie, be advised that he is only in the film for two scenes with a total screen time of about three minutes. Basically, the acting was just there, but no complaints.
A lot of “Miss Bala” is very predictable, and at about an hour and forty-five minutes long, maybe ten minutes could have been cut out of the film. Given the nature of the subject matter, there is some pretty extreme violence, but most of it seems to be more of a shoot-em-up that adds to a mediocre plot. Basically the film is what I expected, and although I did not hate this film, I did not love it either and will recommend it as a Redbox rental.