Miss Bala is nowhere near the muy mala dose of gun porn that’s promised in the trailer. How’s this for being as timely as today’s headlines: in the Americanized remodel of Gerardo Naranjo’s gritty 2011 crime thriller, Mexican actors assume the roles of kidnappers, rapists, border-jumpers, crooked federales and/or drug smuggling pimps. A wall should be erected around every theatre that books it. Surely the current White House squatter deserves a consultant’s credit. This time around it’s the makeup artist sidekick (TV’s Gina Rodriguez), not the beauty pageant contestant (Cristina Rodlo) who finds herself doing the bidding of a ruthless (is there any other kind?) drug cartel that holds her hostage. As silly as it gets — and it can get pretty damn silly at times — I was never bored thanks to the accelerated pace of Catherine Hardwicke's (Thirteen, Twilight) direction.
Length: 1 hour, 53 minutes