Miss Bala (2019 film)

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Miss Bala
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCatherine Hardwicke
Screenplay byGareth Dunnett-Alcocer
Based onMiss Bala
by Gerardo Naranjo
Mauricio Katz
Produced by
CinematographyPatrick Murguia
Edited byTerilyn A. Shropshire
Music byAlex Heffes
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • English
  • Spanish
Budget$15 million[1]
Box office$15.4 million[1][2]

Miss Bala (English: "Miss Bullet") is a 2019 action thriller film directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, based on the 2011 Mexican film of the same name.[3] The film stars Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz Córdova, and Anthony Mackie, and follows a woman who trains to take down a Mexican drug cartel after her friend is kidnapped.

The film was released in the United States on February 1, 2019, by Columbia Pictures, in Dolby Cinema. The film was a box office flop, grossing $15.4 million worldwide against a $15 million production budget.[4][5] While Rodriguez's performance received some praise, critics compared the film unfavorably to the original, saying it suffered from "bland action and predictable story beats".[6]


Gloria Fuentes is a Latin-American makeup artist from Los Angeles visiting her best friend Suzu in Tijuana, Mexico.

The pair go to a local nightclub where Suzu plans to impress the local police chief, Saucedo, in order to get into the upcoming Miss Baja California beauty pageant. When Gloria goes to the bathroom armed gunmen shoot up the club and in the chaos Gloria is separated from Suzu. Gloria can't find her the next morning and accompanies a police officer to try to find her friend. He leaves Gloria in a remote area to be kidnapped by the cartel behind the attack. The head of the cartel, Lino, offers to help Gloria find Suzu if Gloria agrees to work for them, as Gloria's American citizenship makes her useful. Gloria reluctantly agrees. She's given a criminal task to complete and is also entered into the Miss Baja beauty pageant. She meets DEA agent Brian Reich and agrees to become an informant in exchange for not being prosecuted for the crime.

Lino then sends her to San Diego to exchange money and drugs for weapons with Jimmy, an illegal arms dealer. She tells Reich about this and he promises to get her to safety. During the transaction, local police show up under Reich's command and a firefight breaks out. Reich abandons her in the crossfire, revealing that he never intended to help because DEA agents died in her prior crime. Lino runs to her side, getting shot in the leg. Gloria escapes with Lino in his car while his men hold off the police, killing Reich.

Lino next asks Gloria to help him assassinate Saucedo. He shows her a video of Suzu being auctioned off into prostitution after being kidnapped at the nightclub, hinting that Saucedo sold her. Gloria agrees to participate in the beauty pageant and wins when Lino bribes the judges. This brings an invitation to Saucedo's afterparty. At the party, she agrees to spend the night with Saucedo, making sure Lino knows where to find him. She runs into Suzu and realizes it was Lino, not Saucedo, who sold Suzu into prostitution.

Gloria warns Saucedo that Lino is going to kill him. Saucedo hides her and tries to flee during the cartel's attack. Gloria takes an assault rifle from a dying soldier and goes to find Suzu. Gloria finds Saucedo using Suzu as a human shield and Gloria shoots him in the leg. Lino kills him and thanks Gloria for her help. Gloria points her gun at Lino, telling him that she knows the truth about Suzu.

The police arrive at the party and Gloria and Suzu are among the arrested. Gloria is taken to an interrogation room where she finds her interrogator is Jimmy, who is actually an undercover CIA working to dismantle Mexican cartels involved in international organized crime. Gloria makes a deal with him: he will release Suzu, clearing both of them all of their charges and she will work as a CIA asset to infiltrate the cartels. Gloria drives Suzu back to her family and leaves with Jimmy.


  • Gina Rodriguez as Gloria Fuentes, a makeup artist from Los Angeles.
  • Ismael Cruz Córdova as Lino Esparza, the chief of Las Estrellas, a gang from Tijuana.
  • Matt Lauria as Brian Reich, a DEA officer who suspects Gloria to be a part of the cartel
  • Ricardo Abarca as Pollo, Lino's main henchman.
  • Cristina Rodlo as Suzu Ramós, Gloria's best friend who lives in Tijuana and a competitor on the Miss Baja California pageant.
  • Sebastián Cano as Chava Ramós, Suzu's little brother who lives with her.
  • Damián Alcázar as Rafael Saucedo, Tijuana chief of police.
  • Anthony Mackie as Jimmy, a gangster from San Diego, who is secretly a CIA agent.
  • Aislinn Derbez as Isabel, a woman abducted by Las Estrellas.
  • Lilian Guadalupe Tapia Robles as Doña Rosita, a woman who works for Las Estrellas.
  • Erick Rene Delgadillo Urbina as Tucán, Lino's henchman.
  • Mikhail Plata as Chivo, Lino's henchman.
  • Jorge Humberto Millan Mardueño as Ortiz, Lino's henchman.
  • Thomas Dekker as Justin, Gloria's boss in Los Angeles.
  • José Sefami as Don Ramon, a man who work for Rafael Saucedo.
  • Gaby Orihuela as the coordinator of the Miss Baja California pageant.
  • Roberto Sosa as the police officer who secretly works for Las Estrellas.


In April 2017, it was announced Catherine Hardwicke would direct the film, from a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, with Kevin Misher and Pablo Cruz producing the film, with Andy Berman serving as an executive producer on the film. In May 2017, Gina Rodriguez and Ismael Cruz Córdova joined the cast of the film.[7] In July 2017, Matt Lauria, Cristina Rodlo, and Aislinn Derbez joined the cast of the film.[8][9] Anthony Mackie later joined the cast of the film.[10] The cast and crew are said to be 95 percent Latino.[11][12] Sony reportedly spent $15 million producing the film.[12]


The film was released in the United States on February 1, 2019, after having previously been set for a January 25, 2019 release.[13][14] It was in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2019.[15]


Box office[edit]

Miss Bala has grossed $15 million in the United States and Canada, and $173,237 in other territories, for a worldwide gross of $15.2 million, against a production budget of $15 million.[1][2]

In the United States and Canada, Miss Bala was projected to gross $6–9 million from 2,203 theaters in its opening weekend.[16] It made $2.8 million on its first day, including $650,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $6.7 million, finishing third at the box office. Deadline Hollywood wrote that given its $15 million production budget, an opening of $10–12 million would've been an ideal start in order for the film to turn a profit.[17] It fell 60% in its second weekend to $2.7 million, finishing 10th.[18]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 21% based on 113 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Miss Bala suggests Gina Rodriguez has a future as an action hero; unfortunately, it also demonstrates how hard it is to balance set pieces against a compelling story."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 3.5 out of 5 stars; social media monitor RelishMix noted online responses to the film were "mixed-to-negative".[17][21]

Richard Roeper, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times was critical of the film, saying, "Run away from Gina Rodriguez's ludicrous drug running shoot-em-up... Miss Bala is an early contender for a spot on my list of the worst movies of 2019."[17]


  1. ^ a b c "Miss Bala (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Miss Bala (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  3. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 4, 2017). "Catherine Hardwicke To Helm 'Miss Bala' Remake; Gina Rodriguez Courted". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Travis Clark (December 9, 2019). "The 16 biggest box-office flops of 2019". Business Insider. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Scott Mendelson (February 3, 2019). "Box Office: 'Miss Bala' Flops, 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Expands On Quiet Super Bowl Weekend". Forbes. Archived from the original on December 1, 2020. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Ryan Fujitani (January 31, 2019). "Miss Bala Is A Rocky Remake". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 15, 2017). "Gina Rodriguez Set To Star In 'Miss Bala', Ismael Cruz Córdova Cast As Male Lead". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 19, 2017). "Matt Lauria and Cristina Rodlo Join Gina Rodriguez in 'Miss Bala' Remake (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Derbez, Aislinn (July 14, 2017). "Hot set with these crazy people @hereisgina @ismaelcruzcordova @richieabarca #moviemaking 😍🎬🎥". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  10. ^ Lang, Brent (April 23, 2018). "'Miss Bala,' Animated Spider-Man Show Sony's Commitment to Diverse Heroes". Variety. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  11. ^ "CinemaCon: Sony Touts Diversity of Its Upcoming Movies". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  12. ^ a b Lopez, Ricardo (2018-11-16). "Gina Rodriguez's 'Miss Bala' Features Rare Leading Role for Latinx Actor, Diverse Crew". Variety. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 2, 2018). "Sony Dates Trio For 2019: 'Miss Bala', 'A Dog's Way Home' & 'The Crow'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  14. ^ Pederson, Erik (October 12, 2018). "Sony Moves 'Escape Room' Up By A Month & 'Miss Bala' By A Week". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "Miss Bala - The First Trailer, Poster and Images". Filmoria.co.uk. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  16. ^ Faughnder, Ryan (January 30, 2019). "Can Gina Rodriguez's action movie 'Miss Bala' unseat 'Glass' at the box office?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 3, 2018). "'Glass' Still Has Class With Third Weekend Win; 'Miss Bala' Fires Blanks In Lowest Super Bowl Frame In 19 Years – Sunday Final". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 10, 2018). "'Lego Movie 2' Comes Apart With $34M+ Opening; 'What Men Want' Solid With $18M+ In Another Blasé B.O. Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  19. ^ "Miss Bala (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  20. ^ "Miss Bala reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  21. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Miss Bala" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved February 7, 2019.

External links[edit]