Proud Mary: No One Should Be Proud of This

Taraji P. Henson in Proud Mary
Photo Credit: Screen Gems

Ah, January. You sneaky cinema killing fiend. You almost, ALMOST, had me believing this month wouldn’t be filled with the usual trash it normally is when Insidious dropped last week. Alas, you couldn’t sustain, and thus I had to sit through Proud Mary. Maybe I’m the one to blame here.

Proud Mary Poster

I need to get the positive (notice I didn’t pluralize that) out of the way first. There is a revenge action scene that’s pretty cool and would make the missions in Grand Theft Auto blush. Some nice head shots, ridiculous camera angles and fast-paced action were on display with a kick-ass version of “Proud Mary” playing in the background. I couldn’t complain (too much) with that one little scene.

The biggest issue with this film is the writing mixed with the poor acting. Writer John S. Newman throws his dialogue around with little to no care. Key plot points and character development are strewn around in the middle of a conversation, and they make no sense. This isn’t helped by the disappointing acting given to us by actors who are normally fantastic.

Taraji P. Henson is probably the standout as the titular Mary, but it’s clear in many scenes she is trying too hard. Billy Brown is ridiculously wooden as former lover and “family” member, Tom, and Danny Glover proves that he is, indeed, too old for this shit.

Proud Mary Poster 2

These characters, plus a young boy named Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), are brought together by what the plot contrivance calls “family” matters. You see, Henson, Brown and Glover are part of a crime family, at war with another family of Russians. Danny, an orphan on the streets, works for the Russians and, after Mary finds him passed out, becomes her surrogate son.  Danny is orphaned by Mary in the very beginning, as she is sent to kill his father.

The plot is as thin as it gets, and no one involved seems to give a damn. I wonder if, when actors the caliber of Henson and Glover signed on, the script was better. Was it possibly studio interference that caused this movie to be awful, or perhaps a director and editor with not enough impulse control? I counted seventeen shots in a seven second span. How is that even possible?

We’ve been getting some excellent female heroines lately, but I’m sorry to say, Mary will not be one of them. If this film isn’t forgotten within a week, I will be shocked. There’s not much more to say.

Please skip it and just wait for the awesome shoot out scene to appear on YouTube.

Grade: 1 out of 10 (only because of that ridiculous shoot out)

Proud Mary is in theaters nationwide.