I was fully prepared to lie to each and every one of you if #ProudMary did not turn out great…Para la cultura. There was no way I was gonna play Taraji like that. (I imagine we are BFFs and on a 1st name basis now)
Fortunately, I do not have to tell lies.
Was it good? HELL YES!
You will enjoy this movie whether you’re an action movie aficionado or not.
I happen to be an enthusiast. My dad loves them too and I grew up watching all the action flicks. From Charles Bronson to Bruce Lee, right on through to Shaft. It isn’t easy to create an intriguing, and most importantly exciting, action movie.
Proud Mary has the formula and in every way was an appropriate and incredible homage to the classic action film. It fits in the genre, smooth like a perfectly orchestrated chase scene and it’s all Taraji P.
This is her vehicle and baaaabyyyy she is driving. In every way, at every turn, Proud Mary is a hard, fast, and deep ride….
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD (but I’ll do my best to keep it minimal).
Directed by, Babak Najafi best known for 2016 London Has Fallen, Proud Mary centers a hit woman, Mary, played by Henson. When Benny, a crime boss in Boston, performed to perfection by Danny Glover, sends her to settle an overdue gambling bet the only way bets are settled in action movies, she unwittingly orphans a young boy, Danny, played by new comer Jahi Di’Allo.
Hard hitting and edge of your seat action ensues when we see our anti-hero break the rules to care for this struggling child. Mary confronts her conscience and in doing so, the entire organized crime syndicate in Boston to save both him and herself from the exploitation and pain of “the life.”
The movie has heart and Taraji plays Mary as a fully realized woman, hard, complicated, soft, and conflicted. Her performance anchors the film, her choices set the pace and the pace is unrelenting, fast and furious, much like Mary herself.
Will she be able to free this child from being swallowed by the streets, can she free herself? It’s complicated. The movie sets a stage, wherein we can relate to the fight inside Mary, who wants to be more than what is expected of her. Who is not only fighting to right a wrong, she is fighting for her own morality. She is going against her very conditioning to do what’s right and that’s what makes her the perfect anti-hero.
There is something to be said about the pains we push Black and non-Black women of color just to prove their worth. Mary very much was a tool, exploited, conditioned, used. In a critical scene, we see Mary confront Benny, “I want to get out.” Benny responds that he loves her, that he raised her, that he is proud of what she’s done with his family. This emotional exploitation and manipulation, is the foundation for their entire relationship. “If you love me,” she responds, “you’ll let me go…”
The parallels drawn here, to real life abuse, is unmistakable to me and my heart chilled because we know how these relationships end. Mary is coming to grips with the same realizations so many of us have come to when we begin to see our abusers for who they really are and it is in these moments my whole heart wants Mary to win.
We want her to shoot her pain away, we want her to win, even while knowing, she was one of the “bad guys” too.
I enjoyed this movie, for all of these reasons and more but, truly, the most spectacular part of the film was seeing a complex, beautiful, capable Black woman kick supreme ass.
We want everyone to get out and see this movie! With the lack of promotion due a movie starring an Oscar nominee and star of a hit primetime TV show, we want to spread the word and get folks to #GOSEEPROUDMARY. We are giving away three pairs of tickets to go see Proud Mary this holiday weekend! To enter to win, all you have to do is share this review and tag a friend on our Facebook post. Dassit! Contest is open until Sunday, January 14 at 11:59am.