Review by Dan Skip Allen
There has been a long history of revenge thrillers in Hollywood, especially ones involving women who are seeking revenge on people who have done them, their family, or friends wrong. The Protégé is another film with a similar plot device. It's one of the better films with this type of storyline released in recent years.
Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) rescues a young girl from a Vietnam bloodbath. As an adult, Anna (Maggie Q) has to navigate various obstacles in her way to seek revenge for the death of Moody. Along the way, she gets involved with another hired killer, Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), and also enlists the help of a gang of bikers to help her in her quest led by Billy (Robert Patrick). There is more to her mentor's death than she realizes, though. She goes down a myriad of rabbit holes to discover the truth.
A lot of actresses have done these types of acting roles in the past, from Angelina Jolie to Charlize Theron, but none of them were as better suited for this type of role as Maggie Q. She seems very at home with the action sequences as well as playing the part of an assassin disguised as a rare bookseller. Her childhood trauma and experience helped prepare her for what she has to do as an adult. Jackson's character helped assure that.
In a world of spies and assassins, The Protégé is one of many very similar films. It has its charm and je ne sais quoi, though, like the things these assassins can afford to buy with money, such as rare guitars or cigars and such. This world these characters live in is pretty ritzy and filled with extravagances.
Despite the basic revenge plot, The Protégé has quite good character development and arks for all its main characters. The film gives everybody their fair share of screen time. The plot, meandering at times, was well thought out and serves its purpose, introducing these characters and their world — a world filled with shadowy people and darkness around every corner. This world was brought to life very realistically by Martin Cambell.
Martin Campbell hasn't had the best track record in his past. He has Green Lantern to show for that, but he has made his fair share of films with action scenes and spies and assassins. He has two Bond films and The Mask of Zorro to his credits. So he's no stranger to action thrillers. He worked with a lot of big-name actors as well, among them Mel Gibson, Daniel Craig, Antonio Banderas, and Ryan Reynolds. Maggie Q and company were in good hands with Campbell.
For an August film, The Protégé is a perfect getaway for the parents or a date movie for a couple of teenagers wanting to get out of the house on a Friday or Saturday night. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but it also weaves an interesting story with fascinating characters. The action is first-rate. Martin Campbell may have found his groove again. Maggie Q might have found her jam in this female actioner. Directors will probably soon come calling on her in the future.
The Protégé hits theaters on August 20.