The Protégé Parent Guide
Mixed in with the constant bloody violence is the best flirtatiously murderous relationship since "Mr. and Mrs. Smith".
Parent Movie Review
Anna (Maggie Q) is one of the most dangerous women in the world – a reputation she’s earned over the course of a long career in international assassinations. She picked up the trade after being rescued and adopted by another lethal assassin – Moody (Samuel L. Jackson). So when Moody is brutally murdered in his own home, Anna sets off to find out who did it…and why. Over the course of her blood-soaked investigations, she runs into Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), a charming and highly skilled mercenary currently employed by the man she’s hunting. And it only gets more complicated from there…
All an action movie needs to be good is solid fight choreography, a half-coherent story, and actors who can manage not to be laughably bad for 90 minutes. That’s really it. Anything else is icing. And you’d be shocked how many action movies can’t even manage that. Usually, they get caught up trying to tell a story, or selling you on some pointless world-building, or just bad editing. That’s roughly what I was expecting here.
Thankfully, The Protégé manages to avoid all of those things. The story is thinner than Michael Keaton’s hair these days, but like Michael Keaton, it works just fine. He and Maggie Q have the best on-screen flirtatious/homicidal relationship I’ve seen since Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Samuel L Jackson never disappoints. He’s always 110% Samuel L. Jackson. And on top of that, there is some truly beautiful location shooting in Vietnam. I don’t think I could survive Vietnam, since my idea of “hot” is about 70 degrees (20 Celsius), but the film made me consider a trip anyway.
So that leaves the choreography, which is more than adequate – and more than enough to earn the R-rating the MPAA applied to this film. I’ve never seen a body stuffed into an industrial shirt press before, but I’m willing to bet you don’t want your kids to see it at all. There’s also a less-than-charming scene in which a child is taunted with their mother’s decapitated head. So maybe not a fun Mother’s Day movie either.
But a family audience was never what the filmmakers were aiming for. The Protégé is just an excuse to watch Michael Keaton and Maggie Q flirt and kill people for an hour and a half or so, and it will hit the spot for adult fans of mindlessly violent action flicks. Just don’t start pulling up the corners on the story. You’ll only spoil your own fun.Directed by Martin Campbell. Starring Maggie Q, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson.. Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release August 20, 2021. Updated February 24, 2022
Watch the trailer for The Protégé
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Protégé rated R? The Protégé is rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence, language, some sexual references, and brief nudity.
Violence: People are shot, stabbed, and blown up. Other violent incidents include electrocution, waterboarding, strangulation, impalement, decapitation, and a man being burned and killed in an industrial shirt press. Children are shot and killed and exposed to murder.
Sexual Content: There is brief female toplessness. A couple are seen in bed after an off-screen sexual liaison.
Profanity: There are 20 sexual expletives and five scatological curses, as well as occasional uses of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking and smoking.
Page last updated February 24, 2022
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Other high-octane globe-trotting assassin films include The Bourne Identity (along with sequels The Bourne Supremacyand The Bourne Ultimatum), Anna, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, The Accountant, Gemini Man, and John Wick (as well as sequels John Wick Chapter Twoand John Wick Chapter Three: Parabellum). The flirtatious murder aspects of this film are perhaps best exemplified in Mr and Mrs. Smith. Maggie Q has big action roles in Mission: Impossible IIIand Live Free or Die Hard. Michael Keaton recently starred in action-heavy flicks like American Assassin and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Samuel L. Jackson has a long and storied cinema career, and some recent entries include Shaft, Kong: Skull Island, and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, reprising his role as international assassin Darius Kincaid.