New on DVD: 'Miss Bala' not strong enough to win DVD crown

Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertainment News

Beauty pageants can be deadly, as seen in this week's new DVD and Blu-ray releases.

"Miss Bala"; 2.5 stars: Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) agrees to travel to Tijuana to help her friend, Suzu (Christina Ridlo), prepare for a beauty contest. That trip turns deadly when Gloria is captured by a drug cartel and forced to work for them.

The remake of the 2011 film "Miss Bala" by Gerardo Naranjo works until writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer opts for an Americanized ending. Gone is the hopelessness and pain that made the Mexican drama so unforgettable. The necessity to bring everything to a more positive conclusion leaves the new version from director Catherine Hardwicke with less of an emotional impact.

Dunnet-Alcocer not only weakens the film with his ending that suggests all is right with the world, he never misses an opportunity to take a shortcut to keep the plot going. One of the most laughable comes when after being held captive for days, Gloria is thrust into the beauty pageant at the last minute. For this to work, everyone involved from the judges to the contestants must be OK with all the manipulation.

It's the ending where the writer shows a lack of respect for the original film and the audience. In the 2011 film, Gloria barely survives the film's climactic battle. The new version (spoiler alert) not only has Gloria surviving, but going Rambo to help end the shootout. She's gone through such an aggressive change that an undercover agent suggests she should be working as a government agent.



"Mission of Honor": This is the story of Squadron 303, a group of pilots who fought in the skies over England in the Battle of Britain.

"Decoding the Great Pyramid": Film takes a closer look at the 6 million-ton Great Pyramid of Giza, the last surviving wonder of the ancient world.

"Dragged Across the Concrete": Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn play two veteran cops who attempt to hijack a bank heist.

"Frontline: Right to Fail": This program is an investigation into a court-ordered effort to move hundreds with mental illness into independent living.


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