Critic Reviews



Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
A real surprise. It seems to promise an exploitative genre movie, about gangsters and drug deals, and it delivers on that, but it’s something more. Director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocet have taken a Mexican thriller, with a female victim at its center, and have turned it into an intelligent feminist film.
What this new version forgets, to its detriment, is that Gloria’s strength doesn’t come from finally holding the gun; it comes from being a survivor.
Miss Bala no longer serves as a critique of a system that might allow innocent people to get caught in the crossfire of the drug war, but as the kick-ass origin story for a new kind of action hero.
What keeps it all watchable is Rodriguez’s magnetism.
There are times when it’s funny. There are also times when it beats you over the head with context clues. When the action ramps up, the over-the-top music score seems to stomp its foot and say, “Something is hap-pen-ing!” Certain plot points are overemphasized. It veers toward parody. But it’s also satisfying to see the outcome.
Gareth Dunnet Alcocer's script has a tidy, programmed feel that results in a feel-good version of a grim and sordid modern yarn.
It’s understandable that Hardwicke didn’t want to mimic her predecessor’s moves. But in chop-chop-chopping the action into standard Hollywood fragments, she has drained the material of its tension, its meaning and its purpose, to say nothing of its beauty.
This version, in the dreariest Hollywood-remake tradition, turns a grim, morally ambiguous story into a fable of empowerment. That might be kind of fun if it didn’t feel so tired and timid.
With every note as predictable as the next, the movie just blends into a discordant mess. Even Rodriguez’s smile can’t salvage this disappointing remake, but at least it provides a welcome reminder to check out the movie that inspired it.
The Mexico of this film is merely a place of abject lawlessness, whose hellishness exists only to stoke our fascination for how the protagonist grows as a person by drawing on her inner strength.

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