The Protégé Misfires as a Summer Blockbuster

The Stream: Boring plot drags down the action.

The Big Screen: A magnetic Maggie Q kicks butt.

The Final Bill: Maggie Q kills a lot of people can’t save this derivative action flick

– Trip Fontaine
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Richard Wenk
Stars: Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, Patrick Malahide, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Patrick, Ori Pfeffer, Ekaterina Baker
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rating: R (Violence, Strong Language)
Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes
Production Companies: Arthur Sarkissian Productions, Campbell Grobman Films, Fourteen Films
Platform: Released in theaters August 20, 2021

It seems like there’s a couple new movies every weekend on both streaming platforms and in the theaters. Are we still going to theaters? Last weekend, new releases included an action, thriller assassin movie, The Protégé, which was only in theaters. What happens when you kill a well-trained assassin’s mentor and then come after her? Well, this movie attempts to show us just that. Here’s how it goes.

Martin Campbell, who has directed some films in the James Bond franchise, brings his action/thriller sensibilities to the story of an elite contract killer, Anna (Maggie Q). In The Protégé, Anna seeks to avenge the brutal murder of her mentor and father figure, Moody (Samuel L. Jackson), who is himself an legendary assassin. As Anna investigates the murder and attempts to avoid the same fate as her mentor, she get involved in a game of cat-and-mouse with yet another contract killer (Michael Keaton). Hijinks ensue.

Are you interested in this or do you already know where it’s going? It’s okay if you do because honestly you do. I actually became pretty bored with this about half way through, which is unfortunate for a movie that’s less than 2 hours long. The problem is that the plot goes everywhere you expect it to go. There are also some random twists that are definitely groan-worthy. Therefore, the movie has to rely on the action and the thrilling set pieces to keep your attention – some are good and some are meh.

Luckily, Maggie Q is front and center of The Protégé. Maggie Q commands every frame that she is in. She is a very capable fighter and believable as an contract killer. She has such a likeable presence that it is understandable that you’d stick around throughout this otherwise blah movie. I hope Maggie Q gets the chance to do something better. Samuel L. Jackson does a decent in job in a thankless role. He’s Sam Jackson, so there can’t be much to complain about as he’s a good partner for Maggie Q. I do have problems with Michael Keaton. His casting is both interesting and all wrong for the part and movie. I don’t get his character, which is very detrimental to the film overall. Keaton is good for what he’s does, but it’s random and completely took me out of the movie. It’s days later and I’m still rolling my eyes at him.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Ultimately, The Protégé was a disappointing viewing experience. While Maggie Q proves her start power, the boring plot and weird casting choices really drag the movie down. In fact, The Protégé proves that if you’ve seen one assassin movie, you’ve seen them all. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t do much to set itself apart from the pack. I say this is an only streaming option if you are bored – just one popped kernel.