CITY PRESS REVIEW: Not so proud of Taraji's Proud Mary

City Press review

Movie: Proud Mary

Director: Babak Najafi

Starring: Taraji P Henson, Billy Brown

The evolution of Taraji P Henson is about the only thing that matters in her latest film, Proud Mary – which she’s the co-executive producer of. It’s while watching this bleh movie that you realise she really deserves to be a pistol-whipping action queen.

Henson’s roles over the years have always been as someone tough on the outside with a teddie bear heart, and Proud Mary isn’t much different – except this time round she’s the ass-kicking lead.

Now, a big problem with these kinds of action thrillers is that the stunts are often so over the top that it’s almost comical. Because you love Henson you want it to be a good movie, but alas.

Rolling Stone magazine even described it as “dipshit drivel,” and I can’t argue with that. In it, Henson plays Mary, a hired gunman from Boston who becomes a mother-like protector to 13-year-old orphan Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston).

As a teen, Mary was taken under the wing of Benny (Danny Glover), a crime kingpin who taught her everything she knows about contract killing. The idea here is that Mary can make changes for this teenage boy by going straight and getting out of the game, but it’s not going to be that simple.

What was cool was to see the 70s blaxploitation genre reimagined in a modern film, but unfortunately director Babak Najafi fails to connect the dots with the script and the emotions of the characters. You’re faced with two dilemas ... Henson’s Mary thrillingly shooting her way out of a world of trigger-happy male oppressors, and then sadly having to watch a great actress getting shot down by a crap movie. Sigh.

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