THEATRICAL REVIEW: The Protege a bloody action tilt with a messy tone

I had high hopes for The Protege, an assassin thriller that co-starred two of my favourite actors. But this film just spends too much time trying to be too much, and ends up falling ultimately flat.

It’s headlined as a film brought to you “by the studio that brought you John Wick” but the action scenes pale in comparison, even if the acting is above-par.

Maggie Q – who made a name for herself with shows like Designated Survivor and Stalker – is an absolutely capable actress, and headlines this action-thriller about an assassin named Anna, who goes on a revenge tilt following the death of her mentor.

She has been indoctrinated into killing people for a living since birth, when a mysterious contract killer named Moody rescued her following a bloodbath encounter. But when Moody is murdered, she has to go up against a suave hitman and his employer to gain vengeance.

Frankly, writer Richard Wenk’s script could have been serviceable, but he tries to do way too much. From unnecessary twists to a strange, slightly off-putting romance between Anna and a man nearly 30 years her senior, there are just many things that don’t belong.

Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton all give the driven, charismatic performances you’d expect, but they’re trapped in a movie that doesn’t give them much room to elevate the material.

Director Martin Campbell has helmed some great genre films like Bond flick Casino Royale and The Mask Of Zorro, but he’s also seen lows with movies like Green Lantern and Vertical Limit.

Unfortunately, The Protege won’t be a successful notch in his belt, despite some great action set-pieces.

It’s a below-par effort that should be entirely better given the pedigree of those involved, and that’s a disappointment all-round.

2/5 Stars

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