She black and beautiful and armed to to teeth. She’s Mary Goodwin (Taraji P. Henson), a lethal contract hit-girl for a Boston crime family run by Benny (Danny Glover) and his son, Tom (Billy Brown), who also happens to be another expert hit-man and Mary’s ex-boyfriend. Mary lives in splendor in her downtown apartment, but that all changes when she takes in a foul-mouthed 12-year-old street kid who’s on the hook with a nasty drug dealer. But what street-wise Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) doesn’t know is that nice Mary is the one that wasted his dead-beat dad a year ago. Think he’ll find out later? Nawww…
Feeling guilt at first for killing his dad, Mary’s maternal instincts kick in later for the boy and two start to bond. Meanwhile, a turf war is brewing between Benny and Luka (Rade Serbedzija), the Russian crime boss, and all because of the mysterious killing of Luka’s rotten nephew, Uncle (Xander Berkeley). As the body count starts to escalate on both sides, Mary tries her darnedest to keep the peace and hide the kid from the prying eyes of her “family”. Naturally, things go terrible wrong and Mary, after having helped with a massacre, decides she wants out of her contract from Benny. Uh… when was the last time you ever heard of a contract killer just leaving? Yeah, I thought so.
The kid decides to take matters into his own hands, gets caught, and that’s when protective Mama Bear goes into full kick-ass mode in a laughably silly third act treat. Written by John S. Newman (the Days of Our Lives TV series), newbie Christian Swegal, and Steve Antin (the Young Americans TV series), this wanna-be homage to the great 70’s films of past fails on so many fronts. It starts out promisingly, then degenerates into a mundane, by-the-numbers, and rather dull film that has some of the worst and clichéd dialogue ever spoken.
The only saving grace is the quick pace by director Babak Najafi (London Has Fallen) who, despite the awful script, does manage to pull out some decent performances, and add some nice shoot-’em up shots. And speaking of acting, it looks like it was a ‘paycheck’ movie for Danny Glover, who just walked through his role. But for Henson, straight from her TV series Empire, she deserved better than this. Her role of a hit-woman wasn’t the issue, it was that underdeveloped script that submarined her. She needed a more meatier role like Zoe Saladana in Columbiana or Angelina Jolie in Wanted.
Billy Brown is your A-typical GQ model thrown in for the love interest, but the real acting award goes to young Winston in his motion picture debut. The young’un, who’s only done some Amazon streaming series, runs acting circles around his adult counterparts. I hope to see more of his talent later on in better movies!