Proud Mary



12 January 2018| No Comments on Proud Mary     by Sean Chavel



How stylish is the wannabe blaxploitation pic Proud Mary starring that firecracker of a talent Taraji P. Henson? It has those schlocky but jivey opening animated credits that turns its’ circa 1970’s Foxy Brown-like character into a wannabe Bond girl gone rogue — but minutes later the movie wants to convince you its invested itself as a “drama” canned with emotional issues. It has that half-baked noir lighting with camera compositions that’s both old school as well as B-movie studio routine. It has that black leather type of costume design for every other stock character. All these movie characters come off in tone and appearance as imitations of other movie characters we’ve seen.

In other words, it’s not a picture that is doing enough to experiment for fun’s sake. Every artistic direction it takes it hedges its bets.

The plot depends on the guilty conscience of veteran killer Mary. She rubbed out one bad man (we guess he was bad) which orphaned a young 13-year old (Jahi Di’Allo Winston). A year later that 13-year old has self-corrupted into becoming a mob runner to stay alive. Mary feels responsible for him and wants to steer the boy in a better direction. She goes the extreme route by executing the man who was enslaving the boy. The bad news is there are two mob outfits, the one Mary works for and a rival one, who enter a gang war all because of this. Danny Glover displays some impressive gravitas as Mary’s boss, and it’s a wonder if he gets cast again as a heavy in a better film down the line.

Headliner Henson is an exceptional actress who was wrongly snubbed by the Oscars for her work in “Hidden Figures.” This is another movie, of another genre obviously, where Henson is throwing her heart and soul, as well as her tough smarts and moral compass into a character. Except the approach this time doesn’t convince. It’s too sentimental a performance made soft by too much mushy dialogue. A similar movie like “Eastern Promises” (2007) now comes off more than ever as a work of genius in portraying the innocent young that crosses into the cutthroat mob underworld by mistake.

There are worse ways to spend 89 minutes. But nothing in “Proud Mary’s” conviction to be a superfly or foxy entertainment pays off the way it wants to. It’s a derivative piece that’s served stale.

89 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Foxy Brown” (1974); “Gloria” (1980); “The Long Kiss Goodnight” (1996); “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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