TL;DR – Well, look, it is not a great film, but it is not a bad one either. It is just that the narrative is not there to support the action.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this movie.
The Protégé Review –
Some actors out there give solid performances no matter what film they are in. One of those actors is Maggie Q, who I have always seen giving her best in whatever production she is in. Frankly, I am not sure why she is not in more things. Well, today I catch up with her latest action film with The Protégé.
So to set the scene, in 1991, it was a stormy day in Da Nang, Vietnam. Moody Dutton (Samuel L. Jackson) walks into a hideout to find that all the people inside are dead, bar one little girl hiding Anna (Eva Nguyen Thorsen) in a closet that may have killed them all. Moody can’t leave her alone in the middle of all that death, so he takes her with him. 30-years later, in Bucharest, Romania, a now grown-up, Anna (Maggie Q) and Moody kidnap Vali (George Piștereanu), the kid of a local mobster Don Preda (Velizar Binev), for 3 Million Euros. But while Don Preda blusters, he does not know that Anna is not a kidnapper. Anna is an assassin.
I liked The Protégé’s report between Maggie and Samuel, which kind of only lasts the first act, which is a bit of a disappointment, but it was good while it lasted. Indeed, all these character actors just pop up for a scene or two, which was kind of fun to watch. I liked the use of Da Nang as a setting, Vietnam is a country with a lot of cinematic potential, but people tend to stop at Hạ Long Bay. Here we get to see the film use every part of the city to its best. The action scenes were all solid, with Maggie having the physicality to sell even some of the more ridiculous elements on show. They got Michael Keaton to look credible without resorting to 20 cuts a moment which was a pleasant surprise.
The story that was needlessly complicated and overwrought didn’t work as well and, as such, was one of the significant weaknesses of the film. Unfortunately, at times, this felt like padding, which is not helped by some of the dialogue falling flat. You see this in the forced romance subplot between Anna and Rembrandt (Michael Keaton). These narrative limitations stripped the film of a lot of its thematic weight. This means in the third act, when all the twists start revealing, they don’t work because you kind of don’t care. All of this is a shame because the actors are still giving their best, but thematically you have already checked out.
In the end, do we recommend The Protégé? Well, look, it is not a great film, but it is not a bad one either. It is just that the narrative is not there to support the action. The strong performances mean that it is still an okay watch, but I would not seek it out. If you liked The Protégé, I would also recommend to you John Wick Chapter 3.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Protégé
Directed by – Martin Campbell
Written by – Richard Wenk
Music by – Rupert Parkes
Cinematography by – David Tattersall
Edited by – Angela M. Catanzaro
Production/Distribution Companies – Millennium Media, Fourteen Films, I Road Productions, Campbell Grobman Films, Ingenious Media & Amazon Prime.
Starring – Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Eva Nguyen Thorsen, Robert Patrick, Patrick Malahide, David Rintoul, Ori Pfeffer, Ray Fearon, Caroline Loncg, Florin Piersic Jr., Tudor Chirilă, Velizar Binev, George Piștereanu, Alexandru Bordea & Tanja Keller
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: na; United States: R