Most action movies have started to become predictable over the years. We’ve seen the same stories play out over and over again with a male lead and a story that isn’t more than a reason to kick some butt. And when we first saw the trailer for The Protege with Samual L. Jackson as one of the main billed actors – we didn’t really expect much else. But with Maggie Q as his protege, where could this story take viewers?
Yes, Samual L. Jackson plays a major role in the film, but he’s not the main character throughout. Instead, Maggie Q takes the lead and does it with not only style but kicks ass in her own way. The film starts when Moody (Jackson) finds Anna (Maggie Q) as a child in Vietnam. It quickly fast forwards thirty years to their current working relationship together as assassins of some of the worst people. Her past is about to help determine her future as she is set off on a mission to try to seek vengeance for what happened to her past and to those she loves. While this is setting us up for what seems like a regular action movie trope – the movie doesn’t take us down that path.
While the movie starts in 1991, we are quickly brought into modern days. One quick and small annoyance was the need to put a year on one scene but the next just said: “thirty years later”. This will pull some of the audience out of the film as they calculate when the story is taking place. It could have easily just put “current day” or even “2021” and kept the movie rolling a bit easier.
Due to the small stature of Anna, she is often discounted or disregarded as a threat throughout the film. This is probably something that a lot of women can relate to. But her years of training, show that she can take down men and foes more than twice her size. She’s using the skills she has and other people’s preconceived notions of her, against them. This is on display when she meets Michael (Keaton – which may have been weird playing a character with the same name) who is intrigued by her. His intrigue doesn’t stop him from doing his job though and separating his emotions and desire for her from his ability to protect his client and finish the job.
The chemistry between Anna and Michael – both fighting and romantic is not only entertaining but well-acted. You can see the actors had fun playing these characters and the majority of the laughs through the film come from their interactions.
The Protege also joins a long line of movies that have had a long list of interesting ways to kill people. Because it’s an action movie revolving around assassins – be ready from blood, gore, and of course a lot of swearing. It does have Samuel L Jackson – if it didn’t have swearing, it wouldn’t feel right anyhow. But it brings a lot of fun fight scenes, a lot of laughs and comes out of an almost unexpected place to a movie we really enjoyed.
You can catch The Protege in theaters this Friday, grab your popcorn and buckle in for a fun ride. The movie doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, but is completely worth the watch.
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About The Protege
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 ever tighter.
Starring Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Patrick
Directed by Martin Campbell
Film rating TBD