She’s proven she can be sweet and smart on Jane the Virgin. Then went ahead and showed us she can be driven and badass in Annihilation. But with Miss Bala, Gina Rodriguez is finally getting the vehicle that may make her a Hollywood superstar. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (thirteen, Twilight) this is an upcoming remake of the 2011 Mexican film of the same name. On the surface, we’re in familiar territory. Like Gerardo Naranjo’s indie, which starred Stephanie Sigman as the title role, this Americanized take follows a young woman who ends up becoming a pawn in narco warfare just across the border. But with her wits about her she’s intent on saving her life and those she loves, even if it means double crossing and selling out every side of the war she becomes a part of.
Naranjo’s film was the breakout Mexican indie of its year, premiering at Cannes and eventually being submitted by Mexico to the Oscars for Best Foreign Language category. With its mix of quiet drama, tense action sequences, and a stellar performance by the sinewy Sigman as a would-be pageant queen, Miss Bala made Mexican cartel warfare feel raw and immediate. Aiming for a sleeker, glossier look and mining a more timely border-drama storyline, this Gina-fronted remake seems to have shied away from the pageant world. By our count there’s not a single tiara in sight in the film’s first full trailer or in the poster.
Instead, the trailer gives us a play by play of how Gloria (Rodriguez) goes from shootout hostage to car bomb driver and border mule to gang mole all in less than three minutes. Living up to its mantra (“A bullet settles everything”) this action-packed trailer makes Miss Bala look akin to Sicario and Peppermint, with just as many explosions in broad daylight and DEA raids at nighttime fueling the film’s plot along. Only, of course, here (at last) we have a movie where a Latina takes center stage alongside her co-star Boricua actor Ismael Cruz Cordova.
Whether this drama will be as well-received as nuanced Naranjo’s OG version and whether it can offer an updated take on this too-familiar subject matter remains to be seen. What we do know is that a shot of Rodriguez in a long red cocktail dress armed with a machine gun going all Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 is gonna be too iconic to ignore.
Check out the full ticking clock of a trailer below and see if you can spot both Casa de las Flores‘s Aislinn Derbez and Captain America‘s Anthony Mackie.
Miss Bala opens in theaters on February 1, 2019.