Movie Review: Miss Bala is Mostly Bland

Miss Bala
Movie Review: Miss Bala is Mostly Bland
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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It’s taken a long time for an authentic representation of some countries make it on film. Miss Bala is a great example of a female-driven star in a high scale action production. It’s the variety of movies that should be made. The trouble is – this one is painfully boring.

Bala is a remake of a 2011 Mexican film that was much grittier, fast-paced, and intense.

This 2019 version, the director scales back to earn a PG rating. Therefore, It loses the edge of excitement. It’s predictable and feels half an hour longer than it actually is. That’s not a good start.

Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) is a makeup artist visiting Tijuana, Mexico to help a friend competing in the Miss Baja pageant. After her friend is abducted during a nightclub shooting, Gloria gets stuck in a drug deal gone wrong. If she wants to find her friend, she’ll have to survive the cartel and the DEA first.

Action movies like this have been popular 25 years ago, because going to the movies was more popular. This is a fine story, being well-made isn’t enough of a reason to convince audiences to go and see it.

Miss Bala

Photo: Sony Pictures

Rodriguez, however, almost is. She’s the only recognizable actor and a terrific star feature. Her expressions are vivacious.

Her character’s choices are heartbreaking, and her determination is clear. She’s the best part of the movie by far.

A heartless ensemble comprises the rest of the action. There are several teams of men each scummier than the last.

Everyone is a cross-dealing, back stabbing liars. They sell secrets between rival gangs, politicians and the DEA. It’s not interesting to see these gruff organizations fight about who has the most money.

Gloria’s passionate fight to take care of her friends is more compelling than watching the arrogant gang warriors. There’s no purpose or motivation beyond money. The human conflicts make crime dramas interesting.

So what’s left is scattered and bland.

Gloria weaves through Tijuana to find her friend Suzu. The only moment of real suspense happens when Anthony Mackie’s appears, making Gloria drive a new car.

I applaud Catharine Hardwicke’s attempt to showcase authentic Mexican women in action. The next step is to make these movies enjoyable..

Miss Bala
1 out of 4 stars

PG, 1hr 44mins. Action Crime Drama.
Directed by Catharine Hardwicke.
Starring Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Cristina Rodlo, Matt Lauria and Anthony Mackie.
Now Playing at Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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