"Miss Bala" is the story of a young woman who is caught in the perilous world of a brutal cross-border cartel and finds powers she never knew she had as she seeks to rescue her friend. Gloria (Rodriguez) drives to Tijuana, Mexico to visit her best friend who is competing in the local "Miss Baja" beauty pageant. During a night out, her friend is abducted and Gloria finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game being played by the CIA, the DEA and a charismatic yet ruthless cartel kingpin. Finding power she never knew she had, Gloria plays one organization against the other, as she seeks to rescue her friend. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness and strength. (Gary Reber)
Special features include commentary with Director Catherine Hardwicke, Executive Producer Jamie Marshall, and Associate Producer Shayda Frost; eight deleted and extended scenes (HD 07:31); five featurettes: "Gina: The Strength Of A Woman" (HD 04:03), "The Bigger The Bang" (HD 07:31), "Making Of Miss Bala" (HD 07:05), "Wardrobe Tests With Commentary By Director Catherine Hardwicke" (HD 07:30) and "Action Rehearsal With Commentary By Director Catherine Hardwicke" (HD 04:59); upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.
The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini camera system and sourced from a 2K master Digital Intermediate format. The picture generally looks good. Color fidelity exhibits natural hues with accurate fleshtones. Theatrically the picture was Dolby Vision HDR enhanced. Contrast is also good with deep blacks, natural highlights, and revealing shadows. Resolution is excellent. Facial and body features, as well as skin pores, hair and beards are well defined, as are set designs and object textures. While the video quality is quite good, the imagery is not always consistent. Still, this is a pleasing image with the backdrop of Tijuana, Mexico. As the movie progresses to the Baja contest, the colors exhibit excellent saturation, for an engaging picture. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack has a very active music score that is generally rhythmic, and at times orchestral, with a wide and deep soundstage, but a tad pushed in the high frequencies, especially certain music segments. The sound is generally dynamic. Sound effects, such as gunfire and explosions, are effectively intense. Other sound effects are convincing as well. Atmospherics are realistic, as are Foley sound effects. Deep bass is present in the music and sound effects and provides a greater sense of impact. Dialogue is a bit frontal focused. The surrounds are active throughout, with a strong enveloping presence, especially with the music. Generally, this is an engaging soundtrack. (Gary Reber)