Familiar Action: Our Review of ‘The Protege’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 20, 2021
Familiar Action: Our Review of ‘The Protege’

There’s nothing wrong with a little familiarity…

The Protégé which is in theatres now is a solid and well made action affair.  While it’s hardly reinventing the wheel by any stretch, it certainly makes for a fun big screen diversion.

Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) and trained in the family business, Anna (Maggie Q) is the world’s most skilled contract killer. But when Moody – the man who was like a father to her and taught her everything she needs to know about trust and survival – is brutally killed, Anna vows revenge. As she becomes entangled with an enigmatic killer (Michael Keaton) whose attraction to her goes way beyond cat and mouse, their confrontation turns deadly and the loose ends of a life spent killing will weave themselves even tighter.

To put it simply this is why these things having a formula works, The Protégé follows it to a tee and the results all make for a strong ride in the realm of revenge.

It feels like hyperbole to even say it at this stage, but this kind of stuff is basically director Martin Campbell’s bread and butter.  It’s a stylish and well shot action piece that knows what it is and isn’t trying to go beyond that.  He’s made a career out of making mid-level action movies and to be honesty he does it pretty well as the movie never skips a beat and we’re engaged not only with the characters but the visual esthetic and the action that he is putting on screen.

Meanwhile, screenwriter Richard Wenk who has lent his pens to films like The Equalizer & The Expendables 2 is no stranger to unfurling a story of action filled revenge with ease.  The film builds its leads up strong and never lets us go even when there is a hail of gun fire around us.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Maggie Q should be getting more work as she easily has the gravitas of a leading actor who can carry a story like this while easily kicking butt all at the same time.  For this B+ grade level action tier she can more then hold her own, the sad reality is that there just aren’t enough films that give her the chance as she brings some subtle wit to the overall badassery of her character Anna.

Michael Keaton just needs more bad guy roles because he’s just too damn good when he gets to chew up the scenery as Rembrandt and both he and Maggie Q had great on screen chemistry to get as they threw quips back and forth at each other.

Otherwise Samuel L Jackson as Moody was a bit of a prop in this one as Maggie’s sage mentor in the world of being an assassin and the only other familiar face in the film is Robert Patrick as another grizzled and sage mentor helping Anna pull off her plan for revenge.

At the end of the day, I have to be honest.  In another forms actually you’ve seen The Protégé before…but there’s nothing wrong with that.  Like a warm blanket that zings bullets past your head, this film is a well needed slice of action movie comfort food, so just kick back and have fun with it.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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