New but not improved

Newest version of Mexican film disappoints


Columbia Studios

Gloria Fuentes struggles to decide whether to go back to the middle of a shootout to save a man’s life or to save her own life in the action film “Miss Bala.” This remake, released on Feb 3, disappointed audiences for not living up to the Spanish version that came out in 2011.

Jordan Owens, Staff Writer

This past weekend, “Miss Bala,” starring Gina Rodriguez, was the newest action-packed film to arrive in theaters. This American remake of the 2011 Mexican film failed to impress critics, receiving a lowly 24 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

It left me feeling like I had missed something that could have been, which seems like the main reason why few critics have supported the film.

— Staff Writer Jordan Owens

“Miss Bala,” meaning Miss Bullet in English, is a film that follows Gloria Fuentes as she travels to Tijuana, México, from the U.S. to help her friend Suzu in a pageant. While at a club together, the two friends are abducted by a gang called Las Estrellas and separated.

Gloria is forced to carry out deadly jobs, such as bombing a military hideout and killing Tijuana’s chief of police, in exchange for Suzu. Gloria knows that she needs protection from the gang beyond being useful on these missions, so she fakes a relationship with the gang’s leader, Lino. At the end of the movie, after four days in captivity, Gloria finds Suzu, takes down Las Estrellas, and joins the CIA.

For me, as a person not knowing anything about the history of “Miss Bala,” this was just another cool action movie with an interesting plot. When I left the movie and did some research on “Miss Bala,” I found out that this film is in fact a remake. After comparing the two, I did not like the fact that there were so many differences between them. It left me feeling like I had missed something that could have been, which seems like the main reason why few critics have supported the film.

The overall plot of the film was the only consistency between the new American version and the 2011 Spanish version. The details of the characters are drastically different. For instance, the main character’s name in the 2011 “Miss Bala” was Laura Guerrero, and she was meant to appear in the pageant since the beginning. In instances of a movie remake, there needs to be something fresh added that separates the new version from the old, but the director of the 2019 movie, Catherine Hardwicke, only removed details. The result was a less impressive movie that critics and fans of the 2011 version disliked.

I believe that if this movie was not a remake and was standing on its own with its amazing cast, then “Miss Bala” would have succeeded. In 2011, it did exactly that. The Spanish “Miss Bala” received many awards, including an Academy award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012. The new “Miss Bala” is doomed to fade into obscurity.

For a person going into the theater seeing “Miss Bala” for the first time without expecting anything, this film is great. If you know the other film and expect something more, then you will most likely be disappointed.