Release Date: January 12, 2018
Director: Babak Najafi
Writer: John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, Steve Antin
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Neal McDonough, Margaret Avery, Xander Berkeley, Rade Serbedzija, Erik LaRay Harvey, Danny Glover, Adobuere Ebiama, Owen Burke, Bo Cleary, Therese Plaehn, James Milord, Alex Portenko, Gene Ravvin, Airon Armstrong, Jose Gonsalves, Kevin O’Peterson, Vladimir Orlov, Al’Jaleel McGhee
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes
Production Company: Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Releasing
Genre: Action, Thriller
Olympus Has Fallen (2013) was a mess of a film, but director Babak Najafi was able to deliver a worthy sequel, with London has Fallen in 2016. It had great action, thrills, and high octane thrills the average movie audience would enjoy. It seemed like taking those same talents and transitioning them over to a coldblooded assassin film, would be the perfect fit for a popular star in the trenches of Hollywood. But I don't know if this meal was overcooked, or not cooked enough because Proud Mary as a film should be buried underground, and never be thought of again.
This film is not only bad, but it's also horrible. It pains me to say this because I'm a huge fan of the titular actress Taraji P. Henson (Baby Boy, Hidden Figures) who takes on the role of Mary. She's a hit-woman that suddenly gains a warm heart, and that's only one of the many problems within the film. I don't blame Taraji though, for in my opinion, the fault lies with the paper-thin material she has to work with. Nothing is interesting about the character that sets her apart from any similar film that's come before, and the dialogue and direction throughout is abysmal.
Mary goes on a hit and succeeds, but her world is thrown upside down when she realizes it turned Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) into an orphan. So, the whole film centers around her feeling guilty, trying to make up what horrible act she's done. A good man or woman would've known these details, but in this film, they were skipped over. Mary doesn't feel the role well either. While she was on the job, she comes across more as an amateur than a professional not fully able to get the mannerisms down as someone who is truly capable of the job. Instead of the film proving Mary is a force not to be reckoned with, we're shown random wigs, and a closet full of guns (that aren't used) to try to drive the story home.
Her character and acting was a joke too. While trying to act tough around Danny when she's alone, suddenly, feelings of love and confusion consume her. The whole act is inconsistent with a typical assassin, and when she and Danny are throwing verbal noise back and forth towards each other, it is laughable and unbelievable. So, on top of not liking Mary, Danny is becoming even more annoying with her being ungrateful and acting jealously that a grown man name Tom comes into the picture (Billy Brown). Tom is possibly the best character in the film, but nowhere near good enough to save it from embarrassment.
Well, at least we'll get some good action, right? Nope! The action in this film was like a first-time shooter, set to easy mode, with the training wheels still on. While Mary and Tom are on a mission, they're able to take out a hoard of goons, while appearing to move around in slow motion. Then, the last action set piece takes the cake and will win the top award for the worst piece of crap of all time. It's so ridiculous, and over the top that you'd think it was a scene out of one of the old school spoof movie Naked Gun. Mary suddenly becomes invincible as if she swallowed the sparkling star from the Mario Brothers taking on a barrage of bullets without a scratch. All you could do at this point is a facepalm, and shake your head wishing this 88-minute film that seemed like an eternity would be over.
Proud Mary is straight trash across the board. I hate to say it, but I have to be honest. There's simply no redeeming qualities about it, and I looked more forward to cleaning my bathroom than even finishing what I had started once the film started. It's a corny mess of epic proportion that tries to use a soundtrack to drown out all the visual noise, and uninteresting characters. It's a cheap copy of everything entertaining of the same type, without coming close to good quality. Though all film in an actor/actresses filmography can't be great, and sadly this is Taraji P. Henson worst, but I'm still a fan of hers, and that is confident she'll be able to bounce back.