Nothing To Be Proud Of - Proud Mary
It takes a lot to make a movie this bad. First, someone has to conceive of a half-baked idea for a script and put pen to paper. Once done, they have to shop it to a studio, who will pair it with a director, production team and cast who will bring the script to life. After that, each of those people must leave their houses every day, committed to putting in the days, weeks and months it takes to make a movie. And throughout all of that, no one can notice that the script, and their execution of it, are epic failures. Professionals, who are paid to make movies, must follow through to the very end for a disaster like this to hit the screen. In other words, there are supposed to be measures in place to stop this from making it to us. That didn't happen. And the result is one of the very worst movies I have seen in a very long time.
Mary Goodwin (played by Taraji P. Henson) is a hitwoman and part of an organized crime family in Boston. Her former love interest, Tom (played by Billy Brown) and his father, Benny (played stupefyingly by Danny Glover), run the crime family and provide stability for Mary's career as an assassin.
All is going according to plan until Mary crosses paths with a young boy named Danny. Based on a complicated history, she starts to take care of the boy and eventually wants out of her life of crime. When Tom and Benny won't let her leave the crime family, things take a turn as Mary must decide what matters and how to get it.
So much more happens and there are so many more details, but none of them matter. If only someone had told that to the writing team. For some reason, they fall into caring about inane plot points developed by absurd dialogue. When the general outline is nonsense and all of the plot lines that fill it in are irritating, you've set yourself up for failure.
As a production, this is awful. The budget is reported to have been at least $14 million and I cannot figure out what they possibly could have spent that on. What limited fight/action sequences there are are marred by some of the ugliest CGI this side of the Transformers franchise. The score never quite matches any of the action to the point that it became a nontrivial distraction for me. And all of the performances weren't even phoned in--more like e-mailed. You know how people say that when Daniel Day-Lewis reads a line, it is like he is delivering it for the very first time? The same could be said for Danny Glover, but in his case, it is because it sounds like he is struggling to complete it rather than offering some fresh take on it.
Everyone's work here is truly objectionable. If there were sanctions that could be given for poor filmmaking, this movie would deserve all of them. Career-worst work by all. Everyone involved should take a year off and reassess the choices they plan to make going forward.
However, can I still be glad this exists? I try to always be mindful of the historical context movies are borne out of. Black women aren't often given the titular role in an an action-thriller. Though maternal, Henson's character is ostensibly an assassin with an attitude. The movie plays with its Blaxploitation roots in sometimes uncomfortable ways, but at the end of the day, it is progress that it saw the light of day at all. But now that it is has, we should definitely push it back into the darkness and never watch it again.
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