Flat. This word accurately describes the new film Proud Mary. Proud Mary follows a hit woman who works to atone for her former sins through taking in a boy who was orphaned by her doing. The story is then a winding tale of corruption and finding a new life for yourself. Mary, played by Taraji Henson, takes us through a typical “guns blazing” journey accented with quality action sequences.
As I was watching this film, I couldn’t get over how typical the plot is. It is sort of like a stew of all the biggest spy and action film plots of the past twenty years, but all together churns into a gray slop. Nothing in this film surprised me, and old techniques that may have worked to enhance the story years ago, don’t hold up now. As mentioned, Mary takes in a young boy who was raised in an incredibly difficult situation. The motherly aspect of Mary is supposed to be a relief to the plot, but it seems a tad awkward and disingenuous. As suspected, the plot begins to unravel when the crime organization she works for realizes she could be compromising everything for this boy. It all begins to crumble, and we start to see the real meat of the film.
For a strict action film, the big sequences (except the finale) left much to be desired. In the finale, it gives us a small glimpse of what the film could be, but it’s far too late to get you interested again. It carried with it an energy and adrenaline that was non-existent in the rest of the film. Many of the pivotal action parts earlier in the film are too dark and robotic to engage the audience.
I feel like this movie would be a pretty good pilot to a tv show, and that’s what detracts from it. It never breaks the mold from a mediocre television show to a blockbuster cinematic experience. It doesn’t know what it wants to be, and it seems to give up on trying to be original. In today’s climate of movies, these films just don’t settle well with audiences anymore. There’s too many “genre-bending” films to settle with a well rehearsed and lackluster story like this. There were a lot of components that could make this movie a success, but they dropped the ball in delivery. I was hoping that this movie would surprise me with a great twist or stylish approach, but I left the theater bored and disinterested in what I just watched.