Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Miss Bala (2019)

I’d like to think that people go to movies for a thought-provoking narrative.  Certainly, some moviemakers would spin their product that way.  A person grows as they go on a harrowing journey where they make life-long friends and discover themselves.  The audience even learns a little bit about themselves or a different culture.

But who am I kidding?  Give us a trailer with some attractive women and an explosion or two, and we’ll buy tickets.  Take Gloria Fuentes, an American who grew up in Mexico.  She’s visiting her friend, Suzu, to help her win a beauty pageant.  Gloria is a makeup artist, which helps.  Suzu has to impress the local chief of police at the local night club.  (He would seems to be able to fix the pageant.)

Armed gunmen enter the nightclub, chaos ensues and Gloria barely makes it out alive.  Suzu isn’t anywhere to be found.  You’d think at this point, the movie would have Gloria go through some elaborate plot to find Suzu.  Maybe she even meets someone who can help her.  If you’ve seen any movie, you know not to go to the police.  You especially don’t go to the police when you know that the chief is the least bit corrupt.

When Gloria goes to a local police officer and explains everything, the police officer takes her straight to the same gunmen that shot up the night club.  They take her passport and ID and have Gloria drive a car to a building.  (This is the scene from the trailer, wherein she blows up the safe house.)

This draws the attention of the DEA, who would flip Gloria into helping them take down the gang.  Sure, they could help find Suzu.  It’s the same offer that the gang made.  What the DEA have as leverage is the ability to lock her up and/or leave her to the gang, who might very well kill her.  So, yeah.  Gloria has no options.

There’s a part of me that would like to have been around while the movie was being written.  I’d like to know the thought process.  I get that Gloria doesn’t know the area that well.  I would think that she would have had at least one other person to turn to, even if it was one of Suzu’s family members or friends.  Instead, she does the one thing that most people in her situation should have at least thought about avoiding.  (At least keep information to a minimum.  If your primary objective is finding your friend, don’t offer up the fact that you can identify the criminals.)

Another bothersome aspect is that there are basically three main groups of people:  Beautiful women, corrupt police and gang members.  I wouldn’t think this is something Mexico would want to be associated with.  Well, the first one is debatable.  No one likes being called ugly, but women should have more to offer than their appearance.  Either way, I don’t think I’d want my country associated with violence, drugs and kidnapping.

On the bright side, there are some really good action scenes.  We get a few gun fights and whatnot.   There’s also the explosion.  With all the death and destruction, though, there’s not much for the kids.  Oh, and the drug references.  Like I said, corrupt police and gang members make up a good portion of the movie.  Yeah.  I’d leave the young ones at home.  Even with teenagers, this is a movie you’re probably going to have to have a discussion on the way home.  It’s a watchable movie, but it doesn’t make for a very good message.


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