Perhaps the most disappointing thing about “Proud Mary” is how much it wastes the talent and charm of its star Taraji P. Henson. She and her fans deserve a much better movie than this half-baked shoot ’em up. Henson’s trademark sass is muted to the point where the movie is ultimately forgettable and a colossal waste of time. It feels like a sort of rinky dink sequel to the equally boring “Atomic Blonde.”
Henson plays Mary, a deadly assassin for a Boston-based organized crime family. When she takes in a homeless boy (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) that she finds bleeding in the street, Mary sets out to find the bad guy who did it and tracks down a very scary (and very important) notorious rival crime boss called Uncle (Xander Berkeley). After a deadly hit of retribution gone wrong, Mary decides to leave her life as a contract killer and start anew with the kid.
The plot is simple and the dialogue even more so, but there’s no real spark to the movie. It starts strong with a retro blaxploitation feel, but then turns into a familial melodrama riddled with bullets. There’s only one real action scene and it’s towards the end, with most of the movie stuffed with tiring filler (let’s watch as the duo get a hot dog!) or the sad spectacle that is the most god-awful performance from Danny Glover that you’ve ever seen. At times it’s hard to tell if you’re watching a movie or a crappy network television cop show.
I had high hopes for this movie and it disappointed me in every way imaginable. Strong women-centric films are great — as long as they have some substance to the story. It’s a great idea with a fantastic star that’s poorly made and poorly executed. What a bummer.