R Dir: Babak Najafi | Sony | 1h 29min
Plot: What’s it about?
It’s a well-known fact that Hollywood tends to dump it’s “less than desirable” films in the January/February months. It’s post “awards season” and all of those limited release films that were only available in select cities are now at your local metroplex. They have company, though, and it’s films like Proud Mary that help populate the new year of films. It’s very rare that a movie released in the early months will actually become a hit. One of the recent films released in the “dump month” that actually was critically and commercially acclaimed was Cloverfield. And that’s been ten years ago. Back on track, there’s no denying that Taraji P. Henson is a great actress, one need only look to Hidden Figures to see that. This was more of a solo effort for her. Enough prattling on, let’s get to it.
There’s not a whole lot going on here, but we do meet Mary (Taraji P. Henson), a hitwoman who works for a Boston crime family. After assassinating a bookie, she takes pity on his son, Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) and, of course, Danny has no idea that Mary has killed his father. Mary’s goal is to save Danny from getting pulled into the life of crime, however this results in her killing the leader of a rival mob family. This nearly creates an all-out mob war, but it’s avoided – barely. Mary’s boss, Benny (Danny Glover) tries to find out what and why this happened and thus forces Mary to cover her tracks. This is complicated by the fact that everyone is now suspicious of Danny’s presence.
Confused? You should be. There was a lot of “dotted line” plot inferences that the audience is supposed to make, so I suppose that I might have missed a few points. I don’t think so, but it’s ok to tell the audience the plot from time to time. And that’s the problem with the film, it somewhat tangents from story to story and while Henson does a fine job with her role, it gets lost in the shuffle. It’s also frustrating because we have no real sense as to what’s going on. It’s not difficult on an intellectual level, it’s just does’t seem to be there. The cast is certainly capable of better work, but if you’re looking for a good mob film, there are plenty to choose from. This one has “dump month” written all over it.
Video: How’s it look?
There’s no denying that this movie, in about all facets, is trying to be something along the lines of Jackie Brown or any of the Pam Grier movies. And that’s fine. Henson’s character perpetually wears black (a must for a hit woman, I would think) and the entire film seems to have a gritty, “street-level” feel to it. Having said that, the 2.39:1 AVC HD image looks great with minimal grain and faults with the transfer. Contrast is strong, colors bold and the level of detail second to none. There’s not a lot to complain about here.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I’ll let the cat out of the bag right now, yes you do hear Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” in this movie. I won’t say when, but I will say that it sounds pretty darn good. Likewise the included DTS HD Master Audio mix is nothing to scoff at, it’s rich and robust and delivers in every sense of the word. Surrounds offer up plenty of support and sound (in the form of whizzing bullets, no less) and the front stage churns out most of the action. Vocals are rich and crisp, save for Glover’s which appear to have been dubbed, and very poorly I might add. Odd.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Mary’s World – This focuses on some of the mystery behind all things “Mary,” with the cast and filmmakers weighing in on Taraji P. Henson’s kick-ass turn as the assassin nobody sees coming and shows some of the tools of her trade that let everyone know this is one woman you don’t want to accidentally cross.
- The Beginning of The End – We dive deep into the film’s final set piece with interviews on Mary’s signature battle to sever her ties from her former life once and for all. Lastly, not only is Mary about the best there is in the world of hit people … she looks good doing it.
- If Looks Could Kill – Mary’s signature look and killer style are explored, from her Maserati to the clothes and wigs that become her metaphorical armor.
The Bottom Line
We all know that Taraji P. Henson is a capable actress, but even the most capable actors get caught up in projects that just, well, aren’t that good. There are moments that really work here, but the movie seems to want to focus on the grandiose action sequences as opposed to explain some of the plot (and the film lets the viewer to way too much interpolating). Having said that, Sony’s disc does look and sound good, but that’s not enough to save this train wreck of a film. Henson will recover, fear not.