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What to know: Well made but pretty scary and violent.
Recommended age 13-18
104 minutes
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MISS BALA cover image Click to play video trailer
Miss Bala is quite a movie! From the friendship that led to a whirlwind of violence and manipulation, to the caring of others, that is the reason behind the storyline. Miss Bala has it all. While watching this film, I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you'll love Miss Bala! If you don't like being scared or a fast-paced, violent movie, you may want to stay away.

In this action-packed film, a young woman, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), returns to her birthplace Tijuana, to visit a close friend. Little does she know that going to enjoy a fun night out would lead her down a path of constant trouble. Gloria gets pulled into a literal turf war between the gang La Estrellas and the Chief of Police (Damian Alcazar) when she witnesses a shooting where her friend also disappears. Luckily, Gloria survives the shooting, but in an effort to locate and rescue her friend, she experiences a number of mishaps with the gang, the DEA, the Police Chief and more. Unbeknownst to Gloria, all of these men are using and manipulating her to get what they need. When all she needs is to find her best friend Suzu (Christina Rodio). Does she rescue her friend? Does she escape the gang's awful manipulations? I guess you'll have to watch it to find out!

There are so many elements of this movie that make it awesome and entertaining! The funny comments, realistic music, beautiful sets and locations, and super cool special effects. Despite this being a live-action film with quite a bit of violence, there are actually some really funny parts and comments, too. Plus, with the help of the music and the costumes, the story flows and makes sense. What I liked and appreciated the most was how perfectly the music changes and is paired to match the feelings of every scene!

The deeper message that this film displays is that we have to be careful with who we put our trust into. In Miss Bala, Gloria puts her trust into the gang and they end up doing things that are not okay and using her. Then, she trusts the DEA and just wait until you see how they treat her. These are not the kind of people we want to trust. Keep in mind that this is a pretty violent movie, even though it's rated PG-13, it has lots of blood, guns and more scary stuff. Also, look out for some partial nudity and profanity. I definitely would never bring anyone under the age of 13 to this movie!

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I'm not giving it 5 stars because I am not a big fan of scary and violent movies, so it was unsettling, for me. I can see, however, that others would really love the action-packed sequences. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 and adults. That said, I wouldn't even bring a sensitive 13 or 15-year-old who scares easily. This film opens February 1, 2019 all over the USA. If you like action, drama and thrillers, check it out. You'll enjoy it!!!

Reviewed by Lexi G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Miss Bala, a film of female power, is very exciting and thrilling. It certainly had me on the edge of my seat. Based on the 2011 Mexican hit film by the same name, it centers on Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), a smart, courageous Mexican-American woman who must work for a cartel boss to find her missing friend, Suzu (Cristina Rodlo).

While we don't see a lot of blood, the violence is in our face. You can expect gun battles, an execution- style murder, a car bombing and more. We see a sexual culture that dehumanizes women, which I feel the film clearly does not support. There is unwanted groping and sex, strong language and cursing in Spanish. Characters drink and use drugs.

My favorite scene is when Gloria returns to Tijuana to help her best friend, Suzu enter a beauty contest. At a nightclub, Gloria survives a shootout, but loses sight of Suzu. While trying to find her, Gloria catches the eye of crime boss Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova), who shoots up the club and has plans for her. In order to find her friend and survive, Gloria shows her strength and wisdom to survive the malicious actions of the cartel, corrupt police and DEA agents.

Miss Bala has excellent visual production. I could feel that I was there with Gloria and feeling her fear, yet her bravery and commitment to find her friend no matter what it cost.

The story involves some questionable and illegal activities, but Gloria's intelligence, courage and loyalty drive everything. It's a female-empowerment film.

I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18. You should know that it is not a film for everyone. I give it 5 out 5 stars. Miss Bala opens in theatres Friday, February 1, 2019.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer

Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film.
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