Originally a 2011 film loosely based on real-life events, “Miss Bala” follows Los Angeles makeup artist Gloria Fuentes (played by Gina Rodriguez), who goes to Tijuana, Mexico, to help her childhood friend Suzu who is competing in the Miss Baja California pageant.
While the two visit a club so Suzu can rub elbows with the chief of police in order to increase her chances of winning, the club is gunned down. After getting separated from her friend and trying to get help, Gloria is thrown into the world of the gang, Las Estrellas, and members promise to help reunite her with Suzu, but only if she helps them get back at the chief of police in return.
Based off the trailer, I expected the story to have some theme of women empowerment or even just a refresher for action movies where the lead is a woman. However, my expectations were not met.
I enjoyed the movie, but I felt like there could have been more or a different angle that could have been taken. Before continuing there are spoilers ahead, so read with caution.
I was waiting for when Gloria would take her own life in her hands and find her friend, but that moment never came. She would often and most of the time stand back and just do what she was told.
I had high hopes for Rodriguez since she
does a really good job on the CW show, “Jane the Virgin,” but in my opinion, this movie was not worth her time and diminished her acting abilities.
Another thing wrong with this film was the plot. There were things that didn’t make any sense at all.
For example, Gloria is threatened by the DEA with life in prison if she doesn't plant a tracker into Lino's phone. Later, they abandon her at the place she was supposed to find refuge, so why didn’t she toss the tracker out the window? There obviously wasn’t any need for it since the DEA agents ended up only caring about killing Lino and his gang, and there wasn’t going to be anyone else who could help her.
Also, there is a CIA agent who only shows up at the last scene of the movie and was undercover as a different gang member. Why didn’t he step in sooner if he knew who she was the entire time? Was him telling her to inform Lino there was a mole in the gang his clue to her? Things would have been a lot easier if she actually assisted someone who was more trustworthy.
I will say that I'm very glad the story didn't make Gloria fall in love with Lino and want to stay with him, because that would have shown that women are weak when it comes to "pretty boys" who have a soft spot with a hard exterior. Also, I appreciate how much Spanish was being used in the movie. Not only were most of the characters of Mexican and Latin American background, but the people working behind the scenes were as well. This helped make sure the movie was authentic as possible.
Overall, I think the plot could have done better with its assumed idea that “women take things into their own hands and won’t let men get in their way,” as that’s what the movie tagline makes the audience think Gloria does. There were some highlights in the movie, but with this plot, they were hidden by the unanswered questions.