Proud Mary

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Proud Mary (2018)

Directed by Babak Najafi

Written by John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, Steve Antin

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Neal McDonough, Danny Glover, Jahi Di’Allo Winston

Mary (Henson) is a skilled assassin working for an organized crime group in the city of Boston. After meeting a young kid (Winston) in need of some help. Mary begins looking for a way out of her life of crime.

Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) stars in this 2018 film directed by Babak Najafi (London Has Fallen) and written by John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, and Steve Antin (Gloria). The cast also features Billy Brown (Cloverfield), Neal McDonough (Minority Report), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), and Jahi Di’Allo Winston (The Upside).

John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, and Steve Antin worked together to write the screenplay for this one. The writing attempts to start things off with a bang, but the opening sequence is a bit of a disappointment. Unfortunately this sets the tone for a movie that is underwhelming at every turn. The writers seemed unable to find the right twists to keep this from becoming a predictable version of a story audiences have seen before. The dialogue is campy and the action sequences, which should be a highlight, feel flat and uninspired. As I’ve already stated, this story is similar to a dozen movies we’ve seen before. The characters are uninteresting and the relationships fall flat due to major plot issues that fall throughout the film. It’s an unfortunate result of what seemed like a somewhat promising premise.

Taraji P. Henson does a decent job becoming the dangerous Mary in this one. She has the best role and delivers what is easily the best work in the film. Even with her solid work, Henson was unable to bring anything unique out of the material. She also failed to find any convincing chemistry with any of the other stars in the film. Since relationships are key to the plot, this becomes a major issue early in the story. Brown, McDonough, and Glover all fell victim to the weak script they were given. None of their performances is bad, but none of them brought anything great to the film either. The young Jahi Di’Allo Winston was equally unimpressive. He comes across more like a kid from the suburbs with an attitude than a kid from the mean streets of Boston. Normally I’m a fan of Glover and McDonough, so I consider this to be less them and more the writing. With weak material the actors just couldn’t make this one work.

Like the story and the acting, the visuals are unimpressive and uninspired. Normally a weak action film would at least provide some solid stunts, but this one doesn’t even do that. Instead, this one has some cookie cutter sequences that are predictable and far too short. The rest of the production work is fine, but there isn’t anything worth highlighting here.

I really really wanted to like this one. I would’ve been happy to even just kind of enjoy it. Unfortunately the story is so weak that nothing could elevate it. With films like John Wick out there, this should’ve been better. The bar has been set and this one fell short. I guess that some people might want to see this just to see Henson do her thing. Otherwise I’m not sure I’d suggest this one to anyone. I give this one 1.3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 89 Minutes

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