The Protégé is the newest in the long line of recent female-led assassin thrillers. Our femme-fatale assassin is Anna (Maggie Q), who is semi-adopted thirty years before our story, when Moody (Samuel L Jackson – when does this dude sleep?), a contract killer, discovers Anna as a child when he attempts to complete a hit. He moulds Anna into his female protégé (go figure) and successor.
Anna, when she’s not off completing contracts and killing people, is a rare bookseller in London and uses this job for cover. One day, Rembrandt (Michael Keaton) comes into Anna’s book shop looking for a gift for his boss’ wife. What ensues is a painfully awkward attempt at flirtation and Anna takes Rembrandt’s number. Coincidence? No.
Moody, after turning 70 years old, is now looking for some redemption. He asks Anna to help him locate a person named Lucas Hayes. Moody wants to make amends to Lucas for assassinating his father, Edward Hayes. After inquiries are made into Lucas Hayes’ possible whereabouts, Moody is murdered, and Anna is pursued by hitmen, and escapes, of course. Anna returns to Vietnam, the place where Moody found her, to locate Lucas. Anna assumes that is who is responsible for Moody’s murder. In Vietnam, she’s captured and subsequently tortured for pursuing Lucas.
Rembrandt then enters the picture again, as you knew he would. Rembrandt turns out to be some sort of enforcer for the phantom behind Moody’s killing. He enters as the ‘good cop’, attempting to find out what Anna knows about this Lucas situation, and why she’s so keen on finding him. Then, the torturous flirting ensues. I’d have rather been waterboarded again.
Luckily, Anna escapes, continuing her journey. What happens next is predictable, and features an all-familiar twist of not one, but two characters seemingly returning from the dead. In the end, Anna completes her self-imposed mission, processes her childhood trauma, and moves on to continue her contract killing life.
The hardest part about getting through this movie was the fact that they wanted you to fully get on board with Michael Keaton somehow being the charming, attractive, gentleman that someone like Anna would be interested in. I don’t know why the filmmaker and casting director thought that Mr Mom and Maggie Q would be even remotely believable. It was a little distracting, and laughable.
This was your typical female assassin-contract-killer thriller and didn’t offer anything new. Hollywood is now trying to give us more of these films with strong female leads, but the films are always the same. Their efforts are also immediately negated by the fact that our strong female characters are braless wearing skintight clothing and high heels, all of which are not conducive for kicking ass. The name Anna wasn’t the best choice either, since that was the name of yet another female assassin and the namesake film released in 2019.
The film shook out exactly the way you thought it would and the twists were predictable. Was the film bad? Not really. I sat there and watched it and was mildly entertained. The film also suffered because it set up a sequel, which is not necessary. Based upon the box office numbers, it’s probably a no-go. This film is just another attempt to find a female John Wick that didn’t hit its mark.
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I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.