DATELINE: Taraji Firepower
We should enjoy Taraji P. Henson while we have her. Her new movie Proud Mary is a throwback to her work on Jonathan Nolan’s hit show before Westworld.
Our initial discovery was on the TV series Person of Interest, where she played police detective Joss Carter, part of the secret organization saving people in vigilante fashion.
In her latest movie incarnation as Proud Mary, a mob hit woman, she has become her partner John Reese (who was played by Jim Caviezel), but has stolen the wardrobe of Miss Shaw, the deadly assassin in black.
The new film echoes the old TV show in so many ways. Mary has a closet hideaway full of armaments, like her pal John Reese, retired government assassin.
The film, produced by Henson, had its problems, including Taraji smashing up the Maserati she drives in a scene in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and John Fogerty who wrote the tune used in the film complaining he was not consulted.
This mob hit squad movie is different: mainly because of Taraji Henson, giving a softer touch, the maternal thing.
Yes, she feels some guilt about leaving a 12-year old boy as an orphan and takes him in. You know when he finds out that she caused his predicament, there will be trouble.
Danny Glover plays the mob leader and Billy Brown his son. Taraji is adopted unofficially as a child and raised to be a killer. History may repeat itself with her new ward (Jahi Di’Allo Winston—a delightful young actor as the orphan with a ridiculous name to his disadvantage).
The film was shot in Greater Boston on the waterfront (with Chicago standing in now and then). The locations are not exactly your favorite tourist spots, though Taraji jogs near the Paul Revere statue on the Boston Common.
When Proud Mary starts acting up to the Tina Turner version of the song (lyrics altered), you know everyone ought to duck. The mob hitmen she takes on are out of the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, another Boston crime tale. If you give her 100 to 1 odds, they will miss every time.
Taraji puts just the right amount of sentiment into her role to make this film contrast favorably with so many trite mob killer stories. We lost count of her shoot’em up tally, but it had to be approaching Clint levels.