Miss Bala

Gloria Fuentes is a Latin-American makeup artist from Los Angeles who goes on a trip to visit her best friend Suzu in Tijuana, Mexico.

When the pair go to a local night club, Suzu plans to impress the Mexican Chief of Police, Saucedo, in order to help her chances in the Miss Baja California beauty pageant which she has entered. When Gloria goes to the bathroom, armed gunmen break in through the vents and attempt to kidnap Gloria out of her stall but ultimately give her time to escape while they attack the club. Chaos ensues as Gloria is separated from Suzu. The next morning, Gloria is unable to get in contact with Suzu and decides to ride with a police officer to try to find Suzu. She informs the police officer that she has information on the men who attacked the club, and the officer asks her to follow him to the station. When the officer takes a break in a remote location, Gloria is taken by members of the Los Estrellas gang, the same men who shot up the club.

The gang take her to their headquarters, where Lino, the gang leader, agrees to help her find Suzu if she agrees to work for them. Gloria is reluctant but eventually agrees as she does not have much choice, and is told to get into a car and park it on a corner of a building. Gloria does the job, and when she leaves the car and joins the men at the top of a hill overlooking the building, they blow up the building, revealed to be a DEA safehouse containing three agents.

Lino then sends Gloria to the Miss Baja pageant, where she attempts an escape through the bathroom. Gloria escapes and encounters a DEA agent, Brian Reich, who takes her into custody and eventually lets her go but not before he puts a tracking device on her since the DEA are aiming to monitor Los Estrellas.

Gloria returns to Suzu’s apartment and finds Lino there, and is sent to San Diego with blood money and drugs attached to her car. Upon crossing the border Gloria is given an arsenal of guns to bring back to Mexico by a gangster named Jimmy, and then told to meet in a large parking lot. Gloria then informs Brian about the meet-up at the parking lot, where he promises to send a SWAT team to rescue her during the mission to capture Lino and the Los Estrellas gang. As Gloria arrives at the parking lot, the men in Los Estrellas get their weapons. However the police show up under Brian’s command, causing a gunfight to ensue in the lot. Gloria runs to a nearby gate where Brian promised to send the SWAT team to pick her up, but upon seeing nobody there she realizes that Brian’s only goal was to capture Los Estrellas, and that he had no intention of helping her. Seeing Gloria stranded in the middle of the gunfight, Lino runs to Gloria to save her, but is shot in the leg. After a moment of hesitation, Gloria decides to help Lino and together, they escape with the other members of Los Estrellas.

The gang head to another safe house, where Gloria meets a woman named Isabella. Isabella herself was threatened into joining Los Estrellas, and bears an infigurative tattoo, meaning she belongs to them. When Gloria hears that they will be checking phones to find a mole in the group, she transfers the chip that Brian gave her to another phone. Lino brings Gloria on a ride to meet some family, and they spend time together as Lino shares his dream of living a simple life in the countryside despite his involvement in a gang. As they return to the safe house, the gang informs Lino that they have found the mole. Unknowingly and to her dismay, Gloria had put the chip in the phone belonging to Isabella, who is killed by Lino for being the suspected mole. Gloria is extremely upset, and the next morning she lashes out at Lino.

Lino explains his plan to kill The Mexican Chief of Police, Saucedo, to Gloria, and shows her a video of Suzu being auctioned off to various buyers. He explains that Suzu was taken the night of the club shooting, and is sold as an escort every night. His plan is to send Gloria to the Miss Baja pageant and ensure her victory by bribing the judges, after which she will be invited to the afterparty organized by Saucedo. Gloria participates in the pageant and wins, and is then invited to the afterparty at Saucedo’s beach home. At the party, she agrees to meet with Saucedo in one of the villas, which she informs Lino of the whereabouts via an in-ear microphone. Before meeting Saucedo, Gloria sees Suzu, and they reunite, Gloria telling Suzu that everything will be okay. However, when Suzu shows her a tattoo on her hand, the same tattoo that Isabella had, Gloria quickly realizes that Lino deceived her and that he had known where Suzu was the whole time.

As Gloria follows Saucedo into the villa, she writes on a postcard that Lino is going to kill him. Saucedo quickly escapes outside just as Los Estrellas begin their attack, and Gloria goes to find Suzu armed with a gun from one of the fallen Los Estrellas gang members. As Gloria goes to find Suzu, she is forced to shoot Saucedo in the leg after he tries to hold Suzu hostage, but then Lino kills him and thanks Gloria for her help in killing Saucedo. Gloria points her gun at Lino, confessing she knows that he was aware of Suzu’s whereabouts. Lino tries to bargain with Gloria telling her that they both did what needed to be done, but she ends up shooting and killing him.

The two women are soon arrested when the cops arrive at the party, and when Gloria is taken into an interrogation room, she finds Jimmy, the man she had received the weapons from in San Diego, and realizes that he is a CIA agent. Gloria has Jimmy free Suzu and herself, and she returns Suzu to her family and goes back into the car with Jimmy, driving off to join the CIA.