Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Babak Najafi|
Taraji P. Henson
|Music by||Fil Eisler|
|Edited by||Evan Schiff|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$21.8 million|
Proud Mary is a 2018 American blaxploitation action thriller film directed by Babak Najafi, from a screenplay written by John S. Newman and Christian Swegal. The film stars Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Danny Glover, Neal McDonough, Xander Berkeley, Margaret Avery, and Jahi Di'Allo Winston, and follows an assassin who must look after a young teenaged boy after a hit job goes wrong.
Proud Mary was released on January 12, 2018, by Screen Gems, which was also the film's production company. Upon release, the film received negative reviews from critics and grossed $21 million.
In Boston, Mary (Henson), an expert assassin, kills her target Marcus Miller, a bookie, in his apartment. She discovers that Marcus had a son, a young boy named Danny (Jahi Di'Allo Winston), when she finds him in his room playing video games. Filled with guilt, Mary takes her leave.
A year later, Danny is living on his own and has been working for a criminal named Uncle (Berkeley) and Mary has kept a distant eye on him. When a drug delivery to Jerome (Burke) goes bad, Danny asks for more money, finds it in a fridge, and takes it to Uncle. However, Uncle notices some is missing and smacks Danny when the boy says he used it to get food, with Uncle threatening to hurt the boy. When Danny is taking a nap on a bench, he notices someone swipes his bag and gives chase. Pulling out his gun and getting the thief to drop it, Danny then faints and falls to the ground. Several moments later, Mary finds him.
After a while, Danny awakens in Mary's apartment, where she introduces herself, cooks him food, and warns him not to go into her room (even though he does). Mary goes to Uncle to return anything that Danny may have taken from him. When Mary demands that Uncle let Danny go, his men threaten her until Mary kills them and Uncle.
Mary then goes to meet fellow assassins led by Benny (Glover). When Uncle's criminal family believes someone from Benny's group killed Uncle to start a war, they are later visited by Uncle's brother Luka (Serbedzija). Benny assures Luka that if anyone from his team had killed Uncle, they will be dealt with immediately. Benny suspects that Walter (McDonough) might’ve killed Uncle and instructs Mary to follow Walter. While taking Danny to get hot dogs, Mary tries to find Walter, but misses him as he goes out, instead spending time with Danny overlooking the city by the water.
Danny tells Mary that when he was only 7, his mother left him and his dad and that his dad was killed. Danny then went to live with his grandmother, but she passed away too, and then someone brought him to Uncle. The next day, Mary goes for a run to follow Walter, maintaining her distance so he won't notice her. After following him under a bridge, Mary shoots Walter dead.
Tom (Brown), Benny's son and Mary's ex-boyfriend, comes to Mary's apartment, finding Danny and telling him that he wants to talk to Mary, also letting slip that he is from Jamaica Plains. As she gets home, Danny tells Mary about Tom and she takes Danny to Benny's home for the birthday of Mina (Avery), his wife. During the dinner, Danny, following Mary's orders, says that he is from Dorchester. This raises Tom's suspicions. Tom later finds Mary in the kitchen and brings up how Marcus was the target from Jamaica Plain, so he pieces together that Danny was his son, and thinks that he could pin his father's murder on Benny and his crew. Mary assures Tom that's not the case. Benny later invites Mary to slow dance, where she says she wants to leave this life behind. When Mary and Danny leave, Tom tells Benny about Danny.
Mary later meets up with Tom as they storm a hideout for Luka's guys. They kill everyone inside but they do not find Luka.
Danny takes one of Mary's guns from her room and goes to find Benny. He takes out the gun and tells Benny to let Mary go. Benny then tells Danny that Mary is the one who killed his father, since he owed them a lot of money, and she is only taking care of him out of guilt. Danny gives Benny the gun just as Mary arrives after learning where he went. Danny leaves, and Mary shoots Benny dead moments later.
Mary tries to run after Danny, just as Tom is informed of Benny's death. Jerome, who also works under Benny, tells Tom that it may have been Danny who killed Benny since he saw the kid going in alone and running out scared. Mary finds Danny by his spot over the water, expressing great remorse over what she did and says not a day goes by that she doesn't regret killing his dad, but she did not take him in just because she felt guilty. Danny appears to forgive her.
Mary drives Danny away, but he leaves the car and is taken by Tom and his men. Tom soon figures that Mary really killed Benny. He sends her a message to inform her that they have Danny. Mary heads over to the warehouse where they're keeping him, and she proceeds to kill every one of Benny and Tom's guys. Mary finds Danny and frees him just as Tom finds them. Danny runs out, leaving Mary and Tom to fight. Mary succeeds and kills Tom with a bullet to the head.
Mary reunites with Danny outside, and they drive off to another location, described as "warm and nice".
- Taraji P. Henson as Mary Goodwin
- Jahi Di'Allo Winston as Danny
- Billy Brown as Tom
- Danny Glover as Benny
- Xander Berkeley as Uncle
- Neal McDonough as Walter
- Margaret Avery as Mina
- Rade Serbedzija as Luka
- Erik LaRay Harvey as Reggie
In January 2017, Taraji P. Henson signed on to star in Proud Mary with Screen Gems still looking to secure a director for an April 2017 principal production start in Boston. In February 2017, the film received a January 26, 2018, release date and Babak Najafi signed on to direct.
On April 5, 2017, the rest of the cast was announced as the film commenced principal production. On July 20, 2017, the first official trailer for the film was released along with a teaser poster. A new release date of January 12, 2018, was also confirmed.
In the United States and Canada, Proud Mary was released on January 12, 2018, alongside The Commuter and Paddington 2, as well as the wide expansion of The Post, and was projected to gross around $20 million from 2,125 theaters in opening weekend. It made $3.2 million on its first day and $10 million over the weekend, finishing 8th at the box office and last among the new releases.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 28% based on 69 reviews, and an average rating of 4.24/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Proud Mary proves Taraji P. Henson has more than enough attitude and charisma to carry an action movie—just not, unfortunately, one this indifferently assembled." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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