Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Protege Review: An Unexpectedly Enjoyable Cat And Mouse Assassination Game

Michael Keaton	...	Rembrandt Maggie Q	Maggie Q	...	Anna Samuel L. Jackson	Samuel L. Jackson	...	Moody David Rintoul	David Rintoul	...	Edward Hayes Patrick Malahide	Patrick Malahide	...	Vohl Ray Fearon	Ray Fearon	...	Duquet Ori Pfeffer	Ori Pfeffer	...	Athens Robert Patrick	Robert Patrick	...	Billy Boy Florin Piersic Jr.	Florin Piersic Jr.	...	Ram Tudor Chirila	Tudor Chirila	...	Petru Velizar Binev	Velizar Binev	...	Don Preda George Pistereanu	George Pistereanu	...	Vali Eva Nugyen Thorsen	Eva Nugyen Thorsen	...	Young Anna Alex Bordea	Alex Bordea	...	Anna's Father Tanja Keller	Tanja Keller	...	Anna's Mother Sara Maria Groseanu	Sara Maria Groseanu	...	Anna's Sister 1 Alina Wang	Alina Wang	...	Anna's Sister 2 Taj Atwal	Taj Atwal	...	Seema Caroline Loncq	Caroline Loncq	...	Claudia Gamba Cole	Gamba Cole	...	Benny Phong Giang	Phong Giang	...	Chu Richenda Carey	Richenda Carey	...	Mother Lucia Dimitar Nikolov	Dimitar Nikolov	...	Lucas Hayes Aida Economu	Aida Economu	...	Anna's Friend 1 Madalina Anea	Madalina Anea	...	Anna's Friend 2

Release date: August 20, 2021
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Screenplay by: Richard Wenk
Cast: Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert Patrick

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.

David Sterne	...	Doctor Jack Derges	Jack Derges	...	Randy Stefan Ivanov	Stefan Ivanov	...	Doll Lili Rich	Lili Rich	...	Doll's Friend Kent Sherwood	Kent Sherwood	...	Tough Biker Ekaterina Baker	Ekaterina Baker	...	Technician Lotta Temirkhan Tursungaliyev	Temirkhan Tursungaliyev	...	Border Guard Cosmin Dominte	Cosmin Dominte	...	Anton Carmen Palcu	Carmen Palcu	...	Shop Clerk Kiante Elam	Kiante Elam	...	Hitman Duk Minh Than	Duk Minh Than	...	Da Nang Taxi Driver Don Michael Paul	Don Michael Paul	...	Steverino Chunsheng He	Chunsheng He	...	Fisherman 1 Tiechen Zhang	Tiechen Zhang	...	Fisherman 2 Miylin Georgieva Noveva	Miylin Georgieva Noveva	...	Nun Bringing The Papers Hai Anh Kong Vu	Hai Anh Kong Vu	...	Boy Playing The Flute Other cast: Don Michael Paul	Don Michael Paul	...	Steverino Florin Zhang	Florin Zhang	...	Bodyguard Dorin Zaharia	Dorin Zaharia		 Alexandru Bordea	Alexandru Bordea	...	Young Anna's Father (uncredited) Marc Jenner	Marc Jenner	...	Deputy (uncredited)
I expected The Protege to be a cash grab from some older actors, but the film is a pleasant surprise.  From the start I liked the setup in this film.  And that will depend a lot on how much you like the three main characters.  Samuel L. Jackson is fun as Moody.  It is a very Samuel L. Jackson role, and you will know what to expect from his other films.  And Maggie Q as Anna was also a pleasant surprise; she is confident and capable, but able to appear less so when needed.  And wow was it great to see Michael Keaton back on the big screen as their rival.  

But what the Protege does best is know its limits and not try to do too much.  The action itself is not overdone, with generally quick and efficient deaths and action sequences that both fit in with the assassin style and also don't make it seem too ridiculous.  The movie also moves the story along nicely, although there is a bit too much mystery at the start for my taste.  This leaves it open for the viewer to discover more later, but it still felt like some aspects were intentionally obfuscated at the start.  

The story itself is enjoyable, with a trickle feed of information as you learn more about Moody and Anna's past, as well as the backgrounds of some of the more mysterious characters in this film.  And overall, the interplay between them all is a lot of fun.  You get plenty of sarcasm, machismo, and a healthy amount of chauvinism towards Anna throughout, and she continuously proves to be far more dangerous than the male assassins and thugs in the film anticipate.  However, the film isn't perfect and suffers from a let down of an ending and an overall lack of female characters.  It was strange for a movie that has such a strong female lead to not include some other prominent females, but maybe it was trying to showcase Anna trying to overcome obstacles in a man's world.  But overall, The Protege was an unexpected surprise.

The Protege's great cast, fun chemistry between the lead characters, and understated but brutal action make this one assassin film that is on target. 

Watch it.

Andrei Boncea	...	executive producer Dragos Buliga	...	executive producer Christa Campbell	...	executive producer Luke Daniels	...	executive producer Boaz Davidson	...	executive producer Moshe Diamant	...	producer Valentin Dimitrov	...	line producer: Bulgaria Claiton Fernandes	...	executive producer Vladimir Fernandes	...	executive producer Jeffrey Greenstein	...	executive producer Lati Grobman	...	executive producer Avi Lerner	...	executive producer Yariv Lerner	...	producer Bernard Mazauric	...	line producer Balan Melarkode	...	executive producer Christopher Milburn	...	producer Euzebio Munhoz Jr.	...	executive producer Daniel Negret	...	executive producer Gabriel Popescu	...	line producer Lonnie Ramati	...	co-executive producer Arthur Sarkissian	...	producer (produced by) Regina Seifert	...	co-producer Kyle Stroud	...	executive producer Robert Van Norden	...	producer Gareth West	...	executive producer Simon Williams	...	executive producer Bruno Wu	...	executive producer Jonathan Yunger	...	executive producer
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The Protege is in theaters on August 20, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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