Miss Bala: The plot of this thriller is nothing new to audiences

It’s been done before.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, director of the “Twilight Saga,” this movie treks a different path from the cringeworthy vibes of teenage vampire romance that we all know too well. While the main character, Gloria, played by Gina Rodriguez, isn’t vying for the love of a mysterious vampire, she is having to gain the trust of a drug smuggling gang leader named Lino, played by Ismael Cruz Cordova.

“Miss Bala” is a mix of the “Taken” movies and “Miss Congeniality,” which I’ll leave up to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not. “Miss Bala” has a storyline that is not completely unfamiliar to audiences. Also, with the usually comedic Gina Rodriquez starring, best known for her role in the CW series, “Jane the Virgin,” it’s hard to see Gloria in a serious light. Call it miscasting or Rodriguez just trying to break out into new roles, but she does the best she can in the dramatic story given the audience’s premonitions about her usual character.

The movie follows a young woman named Gloria from the states back to her home in Tijuana to visit her only family there, her best friend Suzu and Suzu’s younger brother, Gloria’s godson. Suzu is entering the Miss Bala pageant in Tijuana and wants to go to an elite club to schmooze some judges. While there, the girls are separated as Lino’s gang raids the club. Gloria is later taken captive by Lino and his gang. Gloria then has to work her way up in ranks to find a way back to Suzu.

Ismael Cruz Cordova’s piercing green eyes and sob story almost have you rooting for him half-way through the movie, almost. “Miss Bala” does do well in avoiding the Stockholm syndrome sub-plot that is overdone in these types of movies. While Lino’s attempts to win over Gloria’s trust almost seem sincere at times, it’s relatively obvious that she sees through his allure and only entertains his demands in an attempt to survive.

“Miss Bala” also touches on some hot button issues, such as gun control, border security and human trafficking. While it doesn’t exactly stick its neck out to say one thing or another on the subjects, the movie does do a good job capitalizing on these elements to draw a crowd. Everyone loves a gun fight and there is no shortage of those in “Miss Bala.”

Of course, I can’t conclude without mentioning the cameo from the Falcon himself, Anthony Mackie. He appears as a minor character with a secret to share. That being said, despite the couple of semi-big names, “Miss Bala” is no “Avengers” movie.

All things considered, “Miss Bala” is an okay movie. It delivers in action, mystery and suspense. What it doesn’t deliver in is a new storyline. It only escapes major criticism because its recycled plot is one that almost everyone loves. I predict it won’t be winning any awards soon but might be worth seeing if you have a couple of free hours.