Proud Mary (2017) Review

Taraji P Henson

First 2018 movie review of the new year! Whoo! Anyway, onwards!
Summary: Mary (Taraji P. Henson) is a hitwoman working for an organized crime family in Boston. Mary’s life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes awry.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are really only two characters in this film that matter. There are a few supporting characters outside of Mary and Danny but meh.
  • Taraji P. Henson as Mary Goodwin. Mary is an assassin, she’s been keeping an eye on Danny, she finally finds him and takes him in to protect him. She also wants to get out of this killing life. All you need to know is that Taraji is good, she’s very good.  She handles emotion so well, she can be awesome and badass in one moment, but then she can turn around and cry when she needs too and she really manages to put some emotion in scenes that I just did not think were worthy of her talents. It was great to see her do action like this, but I wanted to see her do more action because I think she could do it. She has a great fighting face lol. I liked her interactions with Danny,
  • Jahi Di’Allo Winston as Danny. He’s the kid in the film, he’s had a hard year, and he comes across Mary after she finds him. Danny is a bit street smarts, got a smart, potty mouth and he goes toe to toe with Mary a lot of the time. They’re very similar. He has a lot of tragedy in his life, so a lot of that haunts him but he is able to make it day-to-day. I’ve never seen this kid in anything, and I thought he was good. There were a few times where his acting wasn’t that strong but I think overall, he manages to do a good job and hold his own in this movie.
Mary and Danny. I think the strongest aspect of this film is definitely the connection between Mary and Danny. That’s the part I was most invested in. I liked how she was a bit awkward with him at times, even while trying to be a friend, or trying to be motherly. It’s an instinct that some women have and it was easy to see that she was trying to act on it. Danny had a little smart mouth, and he had a hard life in the last year which she is a bit the cause for and I really enjoyed their dynamic. Both actors had really good chemistry and I would rather just watch an entire movie with the two of them. I wish it was just the two of them.
The hallway action scene. There’s a scene towards the end of the movie where Mary finally gets a really cool action scene and I very much enjoyed it. It was choreographed okay, the violence was good, and the music choice… of course.
The opening credits. The opening scene I think for one, is one of the best scenes due to the aesthetic and the feel of it. It definitely has that 70s blaxploitation feel to it, or very much in the vein of Pam Grier’s Foxy Brown. The yellows and oranges, the edits, it was really cool and it should have been a set up for how the film would be.
The Idea. I think the idea behind this movie is really cool. A hit woman who gains a conscious when it comes to a young kid, and does whatever she can to save him, I think that’s really cool. Plus, the idea of being an homage to 70s black films, I thought was really unique to be handled today. I really wanted that.
Cons:
The Supporting Characters. So wasted. There are some interesting characters in this film but it doesn’t care about them so they’re either just not there most of the time, or they’re only there to serve a purpose and when their purpose happens, you’re like “wait… what? Why have that actor if you’re going to do that to them? That’s dumb”. Being this film is about leagues of assassins and families and what not, everyone in this movie is the stereotypical character that is usually in this film. Blech.
The Story. I think the film loses the story in the middle of the film. It wants to tackle too many things that I think it begins to lose sight of what it wanted to do in the first place. I get it, I get what it wanted to do but it’s so cliché and old that it just feels like the usual and it should be exciting to watch because we never really get to see a black woman in a film like this. Or what this film should have been. Basically, it tackles the whole cliche idea of the assassin wants to get out but the leader doesn’t want to let them out thing and that becomes a running thing in the movie and I just rolled my eyes a lot. I really wanted it to focus on Mary and Danny and while it was there, but they wanted to do this thing with warring families and just ugh, then it was the getting out thing, and there was this thing about family and loyalty… just ugh. All over the place. If anything, they should have stuck to the storyline of Mary feeling guilty about Danny and wanting to help him, but she knows she can’t do both, so she wants to get out and then there’s this whole thing about loyalty. That was in there but it sort of showed up out of the blue.
The Music. Outside of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” song, I can’t even tell you if there was any other music to help the film. I don’t remember any of it and the music I do remember was so ineffective that it did nothing for the film. Music is a big part of the movie and I don’t think it did anything that enhanced the movie. If you remember the film Four Brothers, that film had awesome music and this movie in a way, feels like that one, the music in that is memorable.
The Action. So, I wasn’t necessarily expecting like physical action be to like over the top or anything, it was more going into a room and shooting people with silencers and what not, but I think, especially considering that really good scene in the hallway, that this film could have benefitted from having Mary do some physical action, to see her actually kick butt. There is a MAJOR missed opportunity towards the end, when she faces off against a character who apparently is important to her, or at least was and she should have faced off against him instead of what happened. There is also a scene where Mary goes running, and she shoots someone, there SHOULD HAVE BEEN A FIGHT THERE!! I mean are you kidding? There were so many times where she could have physically fought there but didn’t. It would have been so cool and it was set up like it.
Underwhelming.  I was really bored watching this movie, I didn’t expect much but I at least expected a good time and I didn’t really have that. I thought the story was underwhelming, the action was underwhelming, even the violence my friend enjoyed felt underwhelming. Mary and Tom’s encounters were very underwhelming, there should have been more between them, not like romance or anything, but like that chemistry of two people who grew up together and I didn’t get that. Just… very underwhelmed.
Overall, I really wanted to like Proud Mary, it had this feel to it that I thought I would enjoy but I didn’t. Taraji P. Henson is the reason to see this movie as she is good in her role, this movie is alive because of her, without her, it would just fall completely flat, but she helps it but she’s way to good for this flick. Her chemistry with the young actor who plays Danny was really strong and I was more interested in seeing their story together compared to everything else. I also did really like that one action scene towards the end of the film, that was really the only time I thought they allowed her to really show off her skills as an assassin. The opening credits were really cool and the idea behind the film could have been great but unfortunately the story is all over the place, and completely cliché. There is not enough action in it to allow Mary to show us that she is this awesome assassin, I’m sorry, pointing, ducking for cover and shooting is not enough for a film that used its trailers to bank on the action. The music is also very forgettable minus Tina Turner’s iconic song, and it’s very underwhelming and boring. I wanted to like it but I just didn’t.
Rating: 2 out 5 stars.
Have you seen Proud Mary? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts below!
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