If the prospect of 10 minutes of Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation) smiling and another 90 of her looking upset sounds appealing, Miss Bala might be the movie for you.
That’s the gist of this snoozy would-be thriller, an English-language redo of an apparently quite good 2011 Mexican film.
Whatever qualities drove the original to critical acclaim, under the scatterbrained direction of Catherine Hardwicke (The Lords of Dogtown; Twilight), Los Angeles makeup artist Gloria (Rodriguez) gets caught up in a Tijuana power grab between the Estrella cartel, local law enforcement, and the DEA that unfurls so comically quickly that it’s difficult to develop anything beyond basic attachments to her or any other character.
After this rapid-fire introduction, Gloria’s existence devolves into weathering the gaze and whatnot of creepy cartel leader Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova, Mary Queen of Scots) and desperately seeking escapes from his control while he promises to be searching for her missing friend Suzu (Cristina Rodlo).
Respites from this monotony come in the form of a U.S. drug connection played by Anthony Mackie and some legitimately gorgeous drone and helicopter shots of Tijuana. Were Miss Bala a combination of those two elements, even for the full 100 minutes, the outcome likely would have been better than this textbook Super Bowl weekend waste of time.
Grade: D. Rated PG-13. Now playing at Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: Columbia Pictures)