|Taraji P. Henson|
By Mwabi Kaira
When I first saw the Proud Mary trailer over the holidays I knew that this would be the movie that would take me back to the theaters. I hadn’t been to the movies since Girl’s Trip back in the summer. The trailer showed Taraji P. Henson being a badass, the poster was shaped like an afro and all I could think of was that this was going to be the updated female blaxploitation like Foxy Brown, Coffy, and Cleopatra Jones.
I took my friend out to dinner for her birthday Friday night and the plan was to see Proud Mary after, but the drinks began to flow and we had a lot to catch up on so we decided to see the first matinee Saturday instead. We got our popcorn and drinks and settled in to our comfy seats ready to be entertained and feel like badasses too.
Taraji P. Henson is Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston- led by Benny (Danny Glover) and his much-appreciated eye candy son Tom (Billy Brown). Her life is completely turned around when she meets Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), when a professional hit goes bad. In helping Danny, Mary makes a decision that changes the entire trajectory of the crime family and her life.
|Taraji & Jahi Di’Allo Winston|
Proud Mary holds your attention and the entire cast commands the screen, but the clear scene stealers are the maternal scenes between Mary and Danny. If Danny looks familiar it’s because he played the young Ralph Tresvant in BET’s New Edition biopic last year. Mary and the above-mentioned Tom have just broken up and the sexual chemistry has not gone anywhere. Even though this is a crime family, it is nice to see a black family running things and doing normal things (outside crime) like the beyond bourgeois 65th birthday dinner for the matriarch of the family.
I enjoyed the movie and give it a solid B. The storyline was lacking in some areas and you could fill in the blanks too easily. Taraji’s wig game was on point and it was ever changing. I was expecting more action in the form of some kick ass fighting scenes but was okay with the action I got. Any black woman toting 2 guns, assassinating bad guys and still looking fabulous in the process wins in my book. It is clear by now that no matter what role Taraji is given to play, she will shine and make it her own.
Taraji not only stars in Proud Mary but executive produces it as well. It is directed by Iranian-Swedish film director Babak Najafi who directed London Has Fallen in 2016. Proud Mary was not heavily marketed and promoted and Henson has been critical of this suggesting that the movie’s predominantly black cast played a role in the lack of promotion. Despite all of this Proud Mary still brought in $12 million in its opening weekend.
Proud Mary is not an immediate classic but it is worth your time. Do yourself a favor and check it out.