“Proud Mary” is definitely not perfect, but it damn sure deserves better than it's been given.
[This essay contains very minor spoilers for “Proud Mary”]
Don't believe anyone who fixes their lips, or their fingers, to bad mouth “Proud Mary” and paint it as an irredeemable disaster. It may not be as sleek and polished as similar projects like last year's horribly convoluted “Atomic Blonde” or other various action-packed features that other actresses like Charlize Theron have starred in, but it's still a damn good watch.
It is beyond refreshing to see Taraji P. Henson in a role that would typically be given to actresses like Theron, Milla Jovovich, Angelina Jolie, or Scarlett Johansson, but frankly, “Proud Mary” was not made with the kind of resources, care, and attention that Sony Entertainment should have given it. It had a 14 million dollar budget. Compare that to the 30 million for “Atomic Blonde”, 40 million for “Lucy” (2014), and 110 million for “Ghost in the Shell” (2017).
Sony intentionally sabotaged this film, and hurt its own box office numbers. There were no critic screenings held or Thursday night premieres, both of which have become standard at this point. Most egregiously, the few Thursday night premieres that were scheduled were hastily canceled only an hour before the film was set to be screened for early audiences after they had already purchased their tickets. This not only impacts the box office, but also ratings.
Keep in mind that Sony is the studio at the center of the 2014 email hack that revealed the blatant racism and anti-Blackness of Hollywood that audiences and performers of color already knew existed. From insensitive jokes made about former President Obama’s movie preferences — with “Django Unchained”, “12 Years A Slave”, and Kevin Hart films among their insincere guesses — to an attempt to blacklist Denzel Washington from leading roles because “pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas, ” a long-held myth that has been disproven again, and again, and again.
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