“Proud Mary” is Surprisingly Vulnerable

The new movie Proud Mary is a heart-touching redemption story with no shortage of exciting action scenes. Released on January 12th, Proud Mary stars Taraji P. Henson, most notable for her role as Cookie in the popular show Empire, as a hit woman named Mary who is involved with the mob. Throughout the movie, Mary is determined to right a wrong that has been haunting her ever since it occurred during one of her professional hits. When she meets Danny, the young son of a man she murdered, she takes him into her home and not only tries to give him a better life, but grows to love him as her own son.

While the plot was sometimes a bit too obvious and borderline cliche (how many movies can you name that are about an assassin/criminal trying to give up their life of crime for someone they love?), the characters are really what push this movie forward. Henson’s dynamic performance as Mary is what really stands out. She was able to present herself as a strong “mama bear” type character, while simultaneously showing how vulnerable and loving she was. In the very rare case that an action movie decides to have a female lead who is either a spy or an assassin, the woman tends to be almost robotic and only focused on showcasing her physical strength. Mary seems human to the audience; she’s made horrible mistakes in the past, but is trying to push for a better life and make things right. This is why it is so easy to root for her throughout the movie.

I must admit, however, that after seeing the highly stylized promotional posters of Henson with her gun drawn, a pop of orange as the background and the tagline “Killing for the man every night and day,” I was really hoping for better cinematography throughout the whole movie. I’m a huge sucker for some nice visuals, and that’s where Proud Mary was lacking. In fact, during some of the fight scenes, the camera was moving so fast it was hard to keep up with what was going on.

Overall, Proud Mary was a fine movie. I enjoyed watching the movie and I’m excited to see what Taraji P. Henson’s next role will be. Unfortunately, I don’t think this movie will be too memorable. I give it a 3.5 out of 5-star rating.

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