Miss Bala

Gloria, you’re always on the run now

Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow

I think you’ve got to slow down before you start to blow it

I think you’re headed for a breakdown, so be careful not to show it — Laura Branigan

(sorry Van Morrison, but I had to go Branigan this time).


This is a remake from a 2012, Oscar nominated foreign film. So they figured they’d take the Spanish-language flick, have them speak English, and cast Jane the Virgin (Gina Rodriguez). Now, Rodriguez showed she could be bad-ass in Annihilation. In this, she had to be that, as well as vulnerable. Her acting wasn’t up to snuff. The facial expressions she had everytime she got angry, merely cracked me up. The horrible script didn’t do her any favors.

She plays a makeup artist in L.A., and it starts with one of those cliche scenes I hate — the hardworking young person that has some great ideas for the play, movie, or in this case — fashion show — but the head honcho just dismisses her with a “just go get us some coffee” or whatever line he said (Oh wait, it was that cliche line “We don’t pay you to think.”).

She’s back in good spirits soon enough, because she’s off to the beautiful city of…Tijuana. You see, her BFF Suzu (Christina Rodlo) is entering the Miss Baja California pageant. They can catch up, have a few beers, go to a nightclub, and then have her makeup professionally done for the pageant. Except, bad stuff sometimes happens at nightclubs. There’s a shooting and the women get captured.

Head heavy Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova) tells her he’ll give back Suzu, if she does something for him. That of course means…money is being taped to her body, things are exploding, and people are being shot at.

Because this movie won’t leave any cliche unturned, when the DEA gets involved, they obviously don’t care about screwing her over either, as long as they can nail Lino and his crew.

I recently read a story in one of the entertainment magazines about how bad the movies by women directors did at the box office last year. In another magazine, they talked about how it was a shame that no female directors got nominated for Oscars this year (I sort of agreed, since Chloe Zhao and Elizabeth Chomko did such great films last year). But director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen) just churned out the usual formulaic drug runner flick. Yet even as one of those films, the action isn’t that great and the set pieces aren’t that interesting. The dialogue is atrocious. And, she has that annoying shaky camera going like nobody’s business.

There’s a small role for the always welcome Anthony Mackie. It’s a shame he was wasted in it.

This movie was so bad that just over an hour in, my wife and I just decided to leave. At that point, there were already too many flaws with the film and we figured…why waste any more of our time with it. As we left, we glanced at the movie poster. We were both a bit confused as to why Gina Rodriguez looked completely different. Maybe that was something she did in the last half hour.  

It’s a shame that after the 0 stars given to Serenity last week, it’s another 0 for this.

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