Taraji P. Henson
A movie that advertises itself as a Blaxploitation throwback, via its catchy title (I think the titular song played three times during this 90-minute flick.) and stylish poster, would be forgiven its other flaws were it created with even the smallest bit of nostalgic style. Instead, Taraji P. Henson does some work as a generic super-hitman embroiled in a personal and professional war over a poor kid (the likable Jahi Di'Allo Winston) she orphaned during a hit the year before. London Has Fallen director Babak Najafi may have turned in one of the most noticeably poor directing jobs of the year. The performers, outside of Henson, struggle; Danny Glover seems less to be playing a character than appearing as himself. Proud Mary really needs a strong antagonist, but it kills off its best candidates, Xander Berkeley and Neal McDonough, way too early. However, Mary is not that strong of a protagonist; most of her strength comes directly from Henson, who gives way more than this paycheck flick deserves. Proud Mary better not be too proud to beg for the cable television audience it will soon command, and most of them will probably be changing the channel at the first commercial break.