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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Miss Bala 2019 * * * 1/2 Stars

Miss BalaDirector: Catherine Hardwicke
Year: 2019
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Gina Rodriguez, Isamael Cruz Cordova

Gloria Meyer (played by the engaging Gina Rodriguez) goes to visit her best friend in Tijuana only to get embroiled in the Mexican cartel. She must play a cat and mouse game with the DEA (and said cartel) in order to survive a vacationed nightmare. That's the rub of Miss Bala, my latest review.

Yup, I am announcing "Bala" as the first great film of 2019. After seeing it, I'll probably think twice about crossing the almighty Border. Come to think of it, I might just avoid hitting any restroom at a swanky nightclub as well (you'll know what I mean after you watch "Bala's" buildup-free, first act).

Image result for miss bala 2019 movie scenesDistributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, harboring a scorched look, and containing visceral gunfights with minimal bloodshed (hence the borderline, PG-13 rating), Miss Bala is a trafficking movie and a slight case of Stockholm syndrome all rolled into one. "Bala's" director (Catherine Hardwicke of Twilight fame) creates a flick so dangerous, so well plotted, so willful, and so vulnerably unsafe, you won't be able to catch your breath. Kudos also goes out to the calculated editing by Terilyn A. Shropshire and the performance of Gina Rodriguez which contains seething screen presence. If Miss Bala does well at the box office, the perfectly cast Rodriguez might wind up being a bona fide star (heck, she's got my vote).

So yeah, Miss Bala's loathsome premise, against your will latitude, and abundance of bad cop corruption seems a little far-fetched. And yes, Anthony Mackie playing yet another hard-nosed authority figure feels a little tiresome and typecast (does Runner Runner, Triple 9, and Love the Coopers ring a bell?). Still, "Bala" has enough twists and turns and ratcheted tension for a dozen films (you won't believe what government job the Rodriguez character takes at the pic's conclusion).

Image result for miss bala 2019 movie scenes
Bottom line: Miss Bala with its Mule-like elevation and its untidy crossfire, is truly one of the reasons I like to hit the good old Cineplex. I sometimes want to feel my stomach in my throat, roller coaster style! Rating: 3 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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