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Review: ‘Miss Bala’: An Enjoyable Yet Predictable Popcorn Film

© 2018 - Columbia Pictures

Upon walking into the theater to see Miss Bala I was expecting a high action thriller that included many twists and turns. In some ways I receive that from the feature. The main downfall is that the film is painfully predictable. Despite the predictable nature the film is truly enjoyable to watch and is the perfect film to see at the theater. Between the surround sound and the smell of popcorn, the film makes for the perfect matinee movie to enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Although the film is a remake of the 2011 Mexican film of the same name, audiences inevitably find themselves delving into an absurd ride alongside Gloria (Gina Rodrigquez) because she is worth the price of admission.

Miss Bala is a film that focuses on Gloria attempting to save her friend Suzu (Cristina Rodlo) after a shooting takes place at a club the two visited together the evening Suzu signs up to become a contestant in the Miss Baja California beauty pageant. While Gloria manages to escape the club, she cannot locate her friend afterward. Upon attempting to go to the cops, Gloria quickly realizes that the corruption within the city runs deep as the men who let her go the previous night capture her and the ring leader of the cartel, Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova), demands she do their bidding to help her locate her friend.

Rodriguez is absolutely fantastic within the film. Her talents shine as she comes into her own. This is something one can tell she desires from the moment her makeup supervisor tells her she is not paid to think. Many of us have fallen into jobs where our opinions do no matter and our voices are not heard. This is beyond a frustrating situation to deal with day after day. This is also one of the reasons most people are more prone to jump ship these days instead of remaining loyal to a company. From that moment forward we believe and feel everything she is feeling. We feel her fear. We know her frustrations. More importantly though we feel for her.

If one is willing to scratch slightly deeper below the film’s surface, they will realize that Miss Bala has a little bit more to offer than most other action films out currently. While the feature is not a horror film by any means, the film’s content is absolutely terrifying as we watch the events unfold. As Gloria discovers she is unable to trust any of the men surrounding her. No matter which way she turns she is constantly lied to by the men in Tijuana. She attempts to rely on the men within the feature numerous times before realizing that she has to take matters into her own hands. With a film that attempts to take away female empowerment at every corner, Gloria takes up the battle for every female in the viewing audience.

Gloria also learns an important lesson within the feature. The only person one can truly trust is themselves. Sure, we give that trust to others, but in the situation Gloria finds herself she slowly realizes she can trust no one. We must learn to differentiate those we want to trust from those are truly untrustworthy. Sometimes those options are extremely limited and make us feel as if we are forced to pick between the lesser of two evils. Trustworthy people exist in the world, but the film leads us down a path that makes us debate if that thought is remotely true. We are left continuously paranoid instead and willing to make accusations quicker than normal.

Unfortunately the only chance Miss Bala stands a chance to make a comeback in theaters is by a word of mouth campaign. The problem which faces this film is that most people are not willing to give this action thriller a shot in the first place. Instead they might be possibly waiting for the new James Cameron movie Alita: Battle Angel, but only time will tell if Miss Bala manages to bounce back this upcoming weekend. My prediction is this might be the little engine that could once it resurfaces on DVD and various streaming networks.  Until then the chance of Miss Bala attaining the sequel it so desperately clung to at the end of the feature is slim to none despite Rodriguez’s talents.

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