Miss Bala appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie looked decent but it showed the limitations of SD-DVD.
These concerns largely impacted definition, as the flick tended to seem somewhat soft. Close-ups worked pretty well, but anything wider than that ended up on the fuzzy side of the street.
Jagged edges and moiré effects remained modest, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to materialize beyond some minor and inevitable digital artifacts.
Like most modern thrillers, Bala went with an amber, orange or teal sense much of the time. Within those choices, the hues looked acceptably well-developed, though they lacked much real oomph.
Blacks came across as mostly dense and tight, and low-light shots demonstrated pretty nice clarity. Given the capabilities of SD-DVD, the movie remained watchable but it never seemed better than that.
Expect fairly positive audio from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Bala. The forward domain dominated, as the movie featured solid stereo music and a good sense of environment. Elements meshed smoothly and moved across the spectrum well.
In addition, the surrounds added some pizzazz. The back speakers used music well, and effects also created a fine sense of place. The surrounds didn’t have a ton to do throughout the film, but the mix used them in a satisfying manner.
As for the quality of the audio, it seemed good. Speech always came across as natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues.
Music was bright and clean, while effects showed nice reproduction. Those elements came across as lively and dynamic, and low-end response appeared deep and firm. The episodes consistently boasted pleasing audio.
The disc comes with a mix of extras, and these launch with an audio commentary from director Catherine Hardwicke, executive producer Jamie Marshall and associate producer Shayda Frost. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story and characters, cast and performances, photography and editing, stunts and action, sets and locations, music and other topics.
While the commentary covers a good array of domains, it seems less than stellar in terms of execution. Hardwicke heavily dominates the chat, and she tends to simply narrate the movie a lot of the time.
I also feel disappointed that we don’t hear about the original Mexican version of the film and its adaptation. The commentary includes enough good info to make it worth a listen, but it struggles to become relevant at times.
Three featurettes follow, and The Strength of a Woman runs four minutes, three seconds. It provides comments from Hardwicke, producer Kevin Misher, and actors Gina Rodriguez, Matt Lauria and Ismael Cruz Córdova.
“Woman” looks at the lead character and Rodriguez’s performance. This feels like a fluffy collection of plaudits for Rodriguez.
Next comes The Bigger The Bang, a seven-minute, 31-second reel with Hardwicke, Rodriguez, Córdova, Lauria, stunt coordinator Justin Yu, armorer Niel Gonzalez, and special effects supervisor Alejandro Vazquez.
“Bang” examines stunts and action. While it tosses out a few useful notes, it mostly acts to promote the production.
Making of Miss Bala lasts seven minutes, five seconds and includes Misher, Hardwicke, Rodriguez, Córdova, producer Pablo Cruz, production designer Marco Niro, and actors Aislinn Derbez, Ricardo Abarca, and Cristina Rodlo.
This piece looks at story/characters, cast and performances, and locations. I like the shots of a joint Rodriguez/ Córdova audition, but the rest delivers the usual fluff.
After this we find Wardrobe Tests. The reel goes for seven minutes, 30 seconds and shows various looks for the actors.
The footage doesn’t seem great on its own, but Hardwicke adds commentary. Her remarks add value to the footage.
In the same vein, Action Rehearsal spans four minutes, 59 seconds and shows a “rough draft” of stunt scenes. Hardwicke contributes more commentary and turns this into a fun reel.
Eight Deleted Scenes occupy a total of seven minutes, 31 seconds. These tend toward fairly minor character bits, and none of them add anything of substance.
The disc opens with ads for One Day At a Time, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, The Intruder, Escape Room, Girl In the Spider’s Web and Men In Black International. No trailer for Bala appears here.
An exceptionally ordinary action movie, Miss Bala lacks much to stand out from the crowd. Despite a pretty good lead performance from Gina Rodriguez, the film usually feels disjointed and uninspiring. The DVD brings passable visuals as well as positive audio and a mix of bonus materials. Bala wastes its star’s charms on a generic thriller.