The Protégé is remarkably well-made; Maggie Q and Samuel L. Jackson are absolutely amazing in Martin Campbell's action thriller.
We are in an age where only a handful of filmmakers are staying true to the action genre, doing the needful with compelling fight sequences while keeping fans vested in the story with memorable characters. In these and other ways, The Protégé succeeds, thanks to the director's unique vision and attention to detail.
Action star Maggie Q is Anna, a woman who was taken as a child from her blood-soaked past in Vietnam by legendary killer Moody Dutton (Samuel L. Jackson) and shaped into an ass-kicking assassin.
When she isn't blowing someone's brains out, Anna is managing a bookstore in London. Her relationship with her mentor and friend Moody is what keeps her sane in a world where she doesn't seem to fit in.
Normalcy for the heroine ends when Moody is brutally murdered and an attempt is made on Anna's life. Surviving and dishing out her form of payment to the men who tried to kill her, she goes in a trail of vengeance to find out who gave the order to end Moody's life.
Samuel L. Jackson and Maggie Q in The Protégé
Anna's quest leads her back to Vietnam where an old job Moody did seems to be the connection to his murder. While there, she reconnects with a mysterious individual named Michael (Michael Keaton) whose ties with a powerful syndicate pits them against each other.
As she inches closer to the truth, Anna must fight like never before to stay alive and stay one step ahead of Michael and his associates.
I started watching the trailer for The Protégé but stopped before it got to the halfway point as I misjudged the film to be another mindless action film, wasting the potentials of Jackson and Maggie Q. Fifteen minutes into the story and whatever doubts I had were blown to smithereens.
As the protagonist, Maggie Q brings her A-game to this film, portraying a heroine who doesn't have the luxury of morals. Her bond with Moody is what brings out her humanity and her work at the bookstore keeps her grounded in reality.
Samuel L. Jackson is a joy to watch any day, and here, his character's imprint is felt long after his murder. Like his co-star, he brings humanity to a character whose hands are steeped in blood.
Another actor whose impressive work must be noted is Michael Keaton. His chemistry with Maggie Q is evident and whenever the two characters relate, the viewer is left guessing whether or not they are about to kill each other or make out.
Director Martin Campbell is good at making memorable action films and with this one, he shows total mastery of the genre. The cinematography, fight sequences, and visuals work in tandem to create a visually appealing whole that will please action fans.
The Protégé is an absolute blast from start to finish. Entertaining and enjoyable, it is a testament that not all action flicks have to be brainless and pointless.