Proud Mary (2018)

BABAK NAJAFI

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.   USA, 2018Story by , , Screenplay by John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, Cinematography by Produced by , , Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by .

Taraji P. Henson in Proud Mary

Taraji P. Henson’s energy is the best thing about this otherwise forgettable movie, in which she plays a hit woman for a Boston mob family headed up by . A year after she took out a contract on a bookie who was deep in debt, she is still keeping tabs on the adolescent boy whom she orphaned on the job and who is now a drug runner for another family with whom her people do business. When she finds out that the boy is being mistreated by his employer, she kills the bad guy, unsanctioned, and it sets off a chain of reprisals as her bosses try to figure out who among them is going rogue. As she focuses more on protecting herself and the boy, her own loyalty to her bosses starts to wane in this violent remake of Gloria that has little of John Cassavetes’ character development (heck, it has less than the Sharon Stone remake). Henson’s Mary is meant to recall the classic stars of seventies blaxploitation films (Pam Grier, Tamara Dobson) and she is worthy of the mantle, but the film lets her down frequently, first by never letting her enjoy the more violent, vengeful moments of the story, and then when she finally gets the chance to really have her emotions be focused on, it comes out as tearful mothering melodrama. Henson’s a gem, though, and is excellent opposite her as her lonely and scared young charge. Glover reunites with his Colour Purple co-star Margaret Avery in one brief scene.

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