Miss Bala (2019) – Summary/ Review (with Spoilers)

Miss Bala (2019) - Title Card

Between Miss Bala being curbed to PG-13, and lacking shades of grey, while entertaining, it isn’t necessarily a must see.

Between Miss Bala being curbed to PG-13, and lacking shades of grey, while entertaining, it isn’t necessarily a must see.

Director(s) Catherine Hardwicke
Written By Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer
Date Released 2/1/2019
Genre(s) Action, Thriller, Drama
Good If You Like Watching Women Endure Until They Get Their Revenge

Gun Fights

Villains With Charisma

Isn’t For You If You Want Complicated Characters

Desire The Film To Fully
Address The Horrors Of Being Kidnapped

Expect Twists & Turns You Wouldn’t Expect

Noted Cast
Gloria Gina Rodriguez
Suzu Cristina Rodlo
Lino Ismael Cruz Cordova
Brian Matt Lauria
Jimmy Anthony Mackie

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Miss Bala Plot Summary (Ending on 2nd Page)

Gloria was but a makeup artist trying to move up in the fashion world. But, until then, she could at least use her talents, and the free gift bags, from LA fashion week, to help her friend Suzu win Miss Baja. But, no sooner than Gloria is in Tijuana, Mexico, just having a night out with Suzu, the club they’re in gets shot up, and Suzu kidnapped. Then, the following day, while trying to get answers, Gloria talks to the wrong kind of cop and gets dragged into the underbelly of Tijuana with her landing under Lino and his gang.

From then on, between Lino, her DEA contact Brian, and others, Gloria has to figure out a way to not only find out what happened to Suzu but survive being forced between warring parties.


It Doesn’t Overstay It’s Welcome

When it comes to Miss Bala, despite its hour and forty-four-minute runtime, it keeps a rather good pace. This is achieved by recognizing you know how the story is likely to go, but there still being just enough twists to keep you guessing. For example, will Suzu be found dead or alive? Also, considering Lino has feelings for Gloria, will she give in, see past him kidnapping her, develop Stockholm Syndrome, or use what he can teach her to rescue Suzu? Not to mention, with multiple departments of the US government lurking, trying to manipulate Gloria, there is also the question of which alliance will she maintain?

Then, of course, there are multiple gunfights, the use of a grenade launcher and a good mix of making sure the leads are established, but not bogging us down with details that may feel unnecessary. You know, like what Gloria really wanted to do with her life before all this chaos. If not deep diving into Lino’s operation, or even getting overly complicated about how the CIA and DEA are trying to take him down.

On The Fence

You May Wish Gloria’s Journey Was More Complicated

Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) contemplating whether to save Lino.

Let’s take into consideration Gloria ends up the captive of a man who is the target of multiple US government agencies, and is at war with another major Mexican gang. Also, let’s add in each side is making promises to help her find Suzu if she does things which put her life in danger. In my mind, Gloria should have had more moments when she wasn’t a victim of circumstances but was actively making decisions she knew would get someone killed.

For there really does come a point in the movie where you feel like there is nothing to worry about. That, more than likely, everything is going to turn out okay and this is early on. To be slightly specific, it is during a shootout, a major one between all the factions Gloria has promises from, and yet she walks away with just mental trauma – not a single bullet hits or grazes her. Thus setting the tone that while Gloria may not Rambo through this movie, she is going to have exuberant luck.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive) | Purchase, Rent, Get Tickets, or Merchandise On (Fandango/ Amazonir?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=231140b1ce24b7abe4b44b41387e7783& cb=1548737394959)

Suzu's (Cristina Rodlo) face.
Suzu (Cristina Rodlo)

While Rodriguez handles her business, the film destroys any sense of the unexpected happening again and again. Leaving you hoping, before the inevitable happens, maybe there will be that one thing Gloria willingly did to save her friend. That one decision she’ll have to live with which wasn’t a mistake, but was a choice she made to stay alive and hope to see Suzu again. Yet, that moment never comes. We just watch her get lucky, go through the movie without a single bullet hitting her, no matter how many times at least one should have hit, and are left with something decent to watch, but not rush to see.

Hence the mixed label. While Miss Bala is likable, that is perhaps its problem. Gloria is but a victim turned hero who never faces a hard decision, and while Lino gets humanized a bit, it is never so far for him to become a victim as well. Everyone remains a good guy or bad guy, and the lack of a grey area makes Miss Bala a bit of a divisive film.

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