Plot: Mary (Taraji P. Henson) has a luxurious apartment, a stylish wardrobe, and a closet stocked with an arsenal of high caliber firepower. She belongs to the inner circle of a powerful crime organization, a dutiful and skilled soldier who answers to kingpin Benny (Danny Glover). She is also the ex of Benny’s son, Tom (Billy Brown) and while he would like to rekindle that romance, she isn’t interested. In her criminal career, she has killed countless people in cold blood, over money, betrayal, and simply following orders, but she tires of the violent, high pressure lifestyle. When she finds a young boy collapsed in the road, she takes him in and learns he runs small drug shipments and seeing how he has been beaten and abused, she takes action. But when she unleashes hell upon the men who harmed the boy, it sets a chain of events into motion that could signal the start of all out war between criminal factions.
Entertainment Value: Although marketed like a throwback to the blaxploitation era of badass females, Proud Mary is more of a crime drama with some bursts of action. The movie is solid fun at times, but feels disjointed and comes off as rather flat, with little style or presence. The crime narrative is typical genre stuff, someone wants out and isn’t allowed to leave, while an outside force motivates them to finally make a break, but it is handled well enough. Where the movie loses ground is how it is all presented, as this feels like a stale, by the numbers production. The visuals are bland and beyond basic, with no real kinetic presence outside the action scenes and even then, the action isn’t given an epic, sweeping presentation. I don’t think Proud Mary is bad at all, but it just comes off like one of the countless b movies that are watchable, but don’t stand out from the crowd. The lone grace here is Taraji P. Henson, who elevates the movie ten fold with her performance. She is on point here, handling both the action and emotion with equal skill. The script doesn’t give her much to work with, forcing the emotion, but she does well and carries this entire movie on her shoulders. I wanted to like Proud Mary, but in the end, it is a middle of the road flick propped up by a dynamic lead.
No nakedness. A shower scene presented the silhouette of Mary in the shower, but no visible naughtiness whatsoever here. The movie has a lot of gun battles and as you’d expect, that means some bloodshed. But as happens all too often, the blood is CGI and it really distracts more than anything else. I love splashy gun shots, but I’d prefer no blood over low end digital effects like these. The digital woes hover almost all of the action scenes, especially a late sequence that involves Mary’s car being shot up like a big chunk of Swiss cheese. The bullet holes look like plastic, the kind of stickers or decals you buy to put on your car, as a joke. The action scenes are still fun to watch, as they are the lone area of the movie that showcase stylish presence, but the all digital gun battles leave a lot to be desired. Mary has a few nice on liners, but otherwise, the dialogue here is basic and mostly forgettable. Danny Glover mumbles his lines and that’s kind of humorous, but not really. As far as craziness, there’s much to mention. The movie is fairly serious and has a run of the mill narrative, so not much stands out.
Overall Insanity: 0/10