RTF Review: “Proud Mary”
By Tony Artiga
Imagine, if you will, the following scenario: A hotshot producer drops a script on the desk of a studio executive. “I got a great picture for ya here, Jack. It’s a cross, see, of John Wick and Leon the Professional. And we’re gonna cast Taraji P. Henson in the main role. It’s a winner, Jack, a real winner!”
Great premise, right? Are you getting excited yet? I mean how can this miss?
It misses. Hard.
The film centers around Mary, an assassin who, fun fact, is trying to get out of the family business. Or is trying to make amends for a past hit. Honestly, you can go with either as both character motivations require you to fill in the blanks on your own.
Proud Mary starts with our protagonist carrying out a hit that unexpectedly leaves a young boy named Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) orphaned. A year later, Danny finds himself working for a heroin dealer named Uncle. Mary takes it upon herself to care for Danny after finding him beat up in an alley. Which leads to a turf war between rival gangs. Which leads to internal gang drama. Which leads to family betrayal.
Proud Mary is Taken… if Tommy Wiseau wrote the script.
Character motivations, relationships and plot points are introduced and then subsequently tossed out in clumsy fashion. It has an identity crisis at it’s core where the script has no idea what kind of a story it’s trying to be and the director is equally clueless as to how to tell it. The elements are there for an easy home run. But the filmmaking is so incompetent, that they somehow manage to screw up the inevitable final action scene set to Tina Turner’s eponymous song.
HOW?!? How do you possibly fumble the ball on such an easy touchdown?
The silver lining of this film is that Taraji P. Henson and Jahi Di’Allo Winston have wonderful chemistry and their relationship deserves a better film surrounding it. Henson in particular is electrifying. She adds the “Proud” factor to a titular character that ironically spends most of the movie ashamed of herself. But it all adds up for naught. It’s the cinematic equivalent of watching Derek Jeter strike out at T-Ball.
2018 just started so it’s too early to label Proud Mary as one of the worst films this year, but it is without a doubt one of the most disappointing.