This is a PG-13 remake of a 2011 Mexican film also called Miss Bala. “Bala” means “bullet” in English. The award-winning Gina Rodriguez from Jane the Virgin stars as a Hispanic American citizen who crosses the border into Tijuana, Mexico to help her childhood friend win a beauty pageant. They both get kidnapped and caught up in a drug ring. She uses her wits and a few bullets to get out of the dangerous mess. The trailer is a bit misleading, however. She is really good in this movie, although the script doesn’t allow her to really show off her talents.
IS IT ANY GOOD? C
There are a few deliciously tense moments, but just as many missed opportunities. It ends with the promise of a sequel, which would be fine as long as Gina Rodriguez is in it and it’s written better than this film. Some of the dialogue was super frustrating. They missed a LOT of details and the tone shifted a lot. There was a bad use of lighting and some of the camera angles were odd choices. It’s actually a bit slow-moving and boring in parts.
There are many forgetful characters. Anthony Mackie is good in anything he does, although he plays a very small role in this film. Ismael Cruz Cordova has really cool green eyes, but his character was very unrealistic. That’s one of the problems; the drug lords are mean, but more like cartoon characters in some of their dumb choices. Their symbol is the letter “e” representing “Estrella”, which means “star” in English. A shining star doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of people, right? That’s probably a good thing for a PG-13 movie that kids might watch, but many critics are complaining the movie should have hit harder. The movie definitely shows the seedy underbelly of Tijuana.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY? (PG-13)
A LOT of Spanish with no subtitles. You see a girl in her underwear. Other girls wear skimpy clothing. Gangs. Alcohol and drugs. Lots of gun violence, but very little blood. A surprisingly low amount of profanity considering there are dangerous drug lords and corrupt police. Some critics say that, because of the subject matter, this movie should have been rated R. That’s probably true, but I’m always happy to have more PG-13 options out there. Talk of rape and prostitution. Kidnapping.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Who would you become to save your family? Female empowerment. Friendship. Use your wits. While we don’t want to focus on all of the horrible things that can happen to us in on a daily basis, we should be prepared.
Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program. She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews atwww.MovieReviewMom.com. You can find her books on Amazon, and at www.TrinasBooks.com