Proud Mary (film)
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 action thriller film directed by Babak Najafi, from a screenplay written by John S. Newman and Christian Swegal. The film stars Taraji P. Henson, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Billy Brown, Danny Glover, Neal McDonough, Xander Berkeley, Margaret Avery, 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 in his apartment. She discovers that Marcus had a son, a young boy named Danny (Jahi Di'Allo Winston), when she sees him in his room playing video games with headphones on, oblivious to what’s happened to his father in the other room. Feeling guilty, Mary quietly leaves.
A year later, Danny is living on his own, working for a dealer who calls himself Uncle (Berkeley). Mary has kept an eye on him, but from a distance. During a drug deal with a customer, Jerome (Burke), Danny counts the cash and finds it’s $500 short; when Jerome claims the deal was for $2500 and not the agreed $3000, Danny pulls a gun and demands full payment. Jerome tells him to take the missing $500 from a stack in the fridge, and Danny winds up taking the entire amount.
Danny delivers the money to Uncle, who notices some is missing. When Danny says he used it to get food, Uncle beats him and threatens to cut off his hand if he catches Danny stealing again. Dazed and unsteady from the blow, Danny rests on a bench and someone swipes his bag. Danny chases after him, pulls out his gun, and fires warning shots; the thief drops the bag and runs, and as Danny walks toward his bag the concussion from Uncle’s abuse takes hold and he faints. Moments later, Mary finds him.
Danny regains consciousness in Mary's apartment on her couch. She introduces herself, feeds him, and agrees to give him a ride. As she cleans the cut on his face, Mary notices his shirt is covered in blood and leaves to find him something to wear. She returns as he removes the bloody shirt and sees his back covered in old and new bruises and cuts. Furious, Mary asks if Uncle has done this to him, and stalks out of the apartment, saying she’s going to teach Uncle some manners; Danny rides with her. Mary returns Danny's drug supply to Uncle and tells him he's done dealing, but Uncle calls his men and Mary kills them. Uncle then pulls a gun and Mary kills him in self defense.
Mary takes Danny back to her place and leaves again, after warning him not to leave and not to go in her room. She attends a meeting with her fellow assassins, Tom (Brown) and Walter (McDonough), and their boss, mob boss Benny (Glover). Word of the killings has spread, and Benny discusses the problem with his crew: Uncle’s family suspect them to be behind the hit. Walter urges a war, but Mary agrees with Benny that doing so would be unwise, and Benny decides to arrange a meet with their rivals to clear up the situation.
Uncle's brother Luka (Serbedzija) implies the killings were carried out by Benny’s gang; Benny assures Luka that if anyone from his team did it, they will be dealt with immediately. Luka uses the situation to demand new territory as compensation from Benny, who agrees to consider it. Back in his office, Benny says he suspects Walter (McDonough) might’ve killed Uncle, and Mary encourages this to divert attention from herself; Tom (who is Benny's son and Mary's ex-boyfriend) disagrees, but Benny instructs Mary to kill Walter. Taking Danny to get hot dogs, Mary monitors Walter’s jogging routine, noting the time and his route. She then spends time with Danny, bonding with him as they sit overlooking the city by the water.
Danny tells Mary his story, unaware of her role in the past year of his life. His mother abandoned him, and after his father’s murder he lived briefly with a grandmother before she also died. Danny ran away from Child Services and was found on the streets and brought to Uncle, who recruited him as a drug runner. The next day, Mary goes for a run to stalk and kill Walter, maintaining her distance so he won't notice her. Following him under a bridge, Mary kills him. In spite of Luka giving his word that he will wait, his men ambush Benny’s crew, killing several and wounding others. Tom urges hitting back, but Benny insists that they not start a war. Disgusted, Tom leaves, telling Benny he is too old and weak to run things.
Tom comes to Mary's apartment and meets Danny. Tom interrogates him, and learns that he is from Jamaica Plain. When she gets home, Danny tells Mary about Tom’s visit. Tom tortures one of Luka’s men to find out where his boss is, and gets information about a meeting.
Benny asks Mary about Danny, as Tom has told him about the boy. When Mary makes it clear she cares for the boy, he tells her to bring him to his wife Mina's (Avery) birthday party. Mary takes Danny shopping for clothes, and they continue bonding. She coaches him about what to say, and warns him that no matter how nice Benny may seem, he is not to be trusted. During the dinner, Danny answers questions, and when asked where he’s from, he says he’s from Dorchester, which makes Tom suspicious. During a dance with Benny, Mary tells him she wants to leave his crew and her life as an assassin behind. Benny puts her off till tomorrow, saying tonight is about Mina.
Tom confronts Mary in the kitchen; he has pieced together that Marcus was from Jamaica Plain and that Danny was his son. Tom thinks Danny could pin his father's murder on Benny’s crew, but Mary assures him that won’t happen. Tom tries to rekindle their romance, but she rebuffs him. Back home, Mary tells Danny if anything happens to her he is to take all the money hidden in her closet and get far away from Boston to make a good life for himself. Danny reluctantly agrees. Mary meets up with Tom, who warns her that Benny will never let her leave. Mary realises he’s right, and that there is no way out of this life for her except in a body bag. Tom and Mary storm Luka’s hideout; Mary is injured, but they fail to find Luka.
Back home, Mary cleans up her wounds. Danny is shaken by both her injury and her admission that Tom was right - that Benny will never let her go. Danny slips out of the apartment with one of Mary's guns and takes a bus to find Benny. As he waits to be let into Benny’s office, Jerome (who works for Benny) spots him. Danny demands that Benny let Mary go, brandishing the gun. Benny tells Danny that Mary is the one who killed his father, and that she is only taking care of him out of guilt. Danny, shaken, gives Benny the gun. Mary arrives through a back way and tells him to leave, before asking Benny to release her. Benny states that will never happen. Mary says she understands, just before she kills him.
Mary chases after Danny, just as Tom is informed of his father's death. Jerome tells Tom he thinks Danny killed Benny. Mary finds Danny at the spot near the water, and she expresses great remorse about what she did. She tells him not a day goes by that she doesn't regret killing his dad. Mary admits that she sought him out because she felt responsible, but she swears she did not take him in just because she felt guilty. To her relief, Danny believes her.
Mary drives Danny home and tells him to wait in the car. When Tom and his men show up, Danny panics and tries to sneak out of the car, only to be caught and taken away. Tom interrogates Danny and when the boy denies killing Benny, Tom realizes that Mary killed his father. He sends her word that they have Danny. Mary goes to save him. In a massive shootout and in hand-to-hand combat, Mary single-handedly kills every one of Tom's men, suffering only a bullet wound to the shoulder in the process. Mary finds Danny and frees him just as Tom finds them. Danny runs out reluctantly, leaving Mary and Tom facing off. Mary tells Tom she is leaving and he’ll never see her or Danny again before he turning and walking away. Tom shoots at her and misses, so she shoots him twice in the chest and walks over to finish him off with a bullet to the head.
Outside, Mary reunites with Danny. As the credits roll, they discuss where to go next. Mary drives her car, riddled with bullets and missing the driver’s side door, off to a new life somewhere “warm and nice.”
- Taraji P. Henson as Mary Goodwin
- Jahi Di'Allo Winston as Danny
- Billy Brown as Tom Spencer
- Danny Glover as Benny Spencer
- 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 27% based on 71 reviews, and an average rating of 4.27/10. 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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