Taraji P. Henson

Mired in melodrama, this 'Proud Mary' fails to keep rollin'

Mired in melodrama, this 'Proud Mary' fails to keep rollin'

When Screen Gems debuted the trailer for “Proud Mary” last July (a full six months before release) the Taraji P. Henson-starring blaxploitation riff seemed like an easy hit — a female “John Wick” or an African-American “Atomic Blonde.” But this week, the distributor has seemingly dumped the film in theaters with little fanfare, hardly promoting it and not bothering to screen for critics. With such an appealing title, star, genre and song, what could have gone wrong?

As it turns out, the filmmakers of “Proud Mary” — director Babak Najafi, writers Steve Antin, John Stuart Newman and Christian Swegal — skimped on the crucial elements of story, character and action. After a...

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