Taraji P. Henson is one of my favorite actresses so it’s great to see her given a film of her own. It’s lack of promotion and January dump release date are a little unsettling but maybe it will be a surprise.
Synopsis: Mary is a professional assassin who works for Benny, a ruthless gangster who heads an organized crime family in Boston. Her life gets completely turned around when she crosses paths with a 12-year-old boy named Danny during her latest hit. Mary’s desire to save Danny from the streets and a sadistic drug dealer soon causes an all-out turf war that forces her to do what she does best — and take down whoever stands in her way. (Rovi)
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, and Danny Glover
Writers: John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, and Steve Antin
Director: Babak Najafi
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 89mins
For showtimes and more, check out Proud Mary on movietimes.com.
Those expecting a John Wick or Atomic Blonde type action film will be greatly disappointed. At least that was what the trailers were making this out to be but the actual film wasn’t even close. If it weren’t for a few questionable choices involving the script, direction, and editing, the film could have come close. Those who have seen the trailers should have a gist of what the story is about. An assassin named Mary (Henson) pretty much gets caught up in one bad situation after another after she crosses paths with a 12-year-old boy named Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston).
One of the biggest problems with the film was its short length, clocking in at just under 90 minutes. This short length affected the entirety of the film as every part of the story felt rushed. The lack of character development stemming from this made it difficult to be invested in the story since nothing felt earned. It expects us to fill in the gaps with these characters but it’s simply hard to care for any of them. The most compelling character to watch was of course Mary but she is weighed down by unnecessary melodrama involving her crime boss employer Benny (Glover) and his son Tom (Brown).
The story itself wasn’t overly original whatsoever, checking off cliche after cliche, and predictable. Once things actually got interesting, the film was almost over. As mentioned, those expecting more of an action film will be disappointed as the story plays more like a thriller but the problem with this was that it wasn’t thrilling at all. This wasn’t much of an action film either as it featured only a few sequences that were both poorly shot and edited to the point that they became dizzying to follow.
The best part of the film was Henson as Mary. She proved that she could definitely handle herself as an action star in her limited opportunities. She also showed as much range as the script would allow which wasn’t much. Brown as Tom was wooden at times though it was mostly due to the script and direction than anything else. Glover always has great screen presence, however, he was grossly miscast as a crime boss. Winston and Henson were supposed to have a mother-son dynamic but their lack of chemistry made it nearly impossible.
Overall, this was a film that wasted the strong performance from Henson with a questionable script full of unnecessary melodrama, mediocre dialog, and a few instances of clumsily shot and edited action. Definitely a disappointment considering what this could have been.