Miss Bala (2019) was a good action thriller, though it does show some upsetting subjects.
Miss Bala is based on a Spanish 2011 film of the same name. In the movie, Latin-American makeup artist Gloria Fuentes (Gina Rodriguez) goes to Tijuana to help her best friend Suzu (Christina Rodlo) win a beauty pageant. While trying to cozy up to Police Chief Saucedo (Damián Alcázar) in a nightclub to help Suzu’s chances of winning, a crime group called Las Estrellas sneaks in and unsuccessfully attempt to assassinate the Chief.
Gloria makes it out, but Suzu had vanished. She has a police officer take her to the station to report Suzu missing, saying that she saw the shooters. He instead brings her to the Estrellas, where their boss Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova) says that he will find Suzu for her if Gloria works for him.
I loved the firefighting scenes, but this movie reminded me of the phrase ‘viewer discretion advised.’ There is the aforementioned violence, of course, a large amount of drug use, and a few scenes of non-consensual touch. Nothing more happens (it wouldn’t be PG-13 otherwise) but this can be upsetting.
Honestly, the plot line was a little basic. The formula for becoming a fighter to save your friend is a good one, but still a formula. That didn’t stop Rodriguez from giving a wonderful performance though. Rodriguez played the role of Gloria well, particularly with the masks Gloria puts up. Her eyes can be terrified while outwardly looking calm, and Gloria’s acting skills are believable. It’s a delicate balance when your role is acting themselves; you can’t be as convincing as a professional actor, but it still has to be good enough that it makes sense when other characters believe them.
Overall, Miss Bala was not a bad movie. It has its ups and downs. Interestingly, this one was rated lower than the original; the Spanish film Miss Bala (2011) it was based on has a score of 6.5/10 on IMDB while this version has a rating of 5.1/10. It could have been better, but it could have been worse.
One of the few movies where it’s just… average. Nothing really bad, but nothing incredible either.