“Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody, Anna is the world’s most skilled contract killer. However, when Moody is brutally killed, she vows revenge for the man who taught her everything she knows.”

Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Richard Wenk
Staring: Maggie Q, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson
Release Date: August 20, 2021

Anna (Maggie Q) was bred to be an assassin. At a young age she discovered the necessity to kill bad guys, and literally minutes after she was rescued by Moody (Samuel L. Jackson). Together they work in the contract killing business, and with that occupation comes numerous hazards, one of which is a target on your back. The relative calm of Anna’s quiet killing life is upheaved when Moody is murdered in his own home. Anna vows vengeance on the men who took her fatherly man from her.

The Protégé (2021) has all the hallmarks you want from a middle-tier action movie. Maggie Q is charismatic as hell in the lead role. The violence is well choreographed and brutal and the payoff is not entirely surprising, but still satisfying. But here is a twist, The Protégé has more palpable sexual tension between its heroin and the villain than Batman has with Selina Kyle in The Batman (2022). Yea, i said it.

Maggie Q and Michael Keaton are awesome in The Protégé. The way they flirt with each other is violent, angry and incredibly hot. When the pair finally get their hands on each other, it is not in a passionate way, but rather in a vicious “I literally want to murder you” way. Keaton and Q are punching, kicking and thrusting each other across the room when finally Rembrandt (Michael Keaton) has the quote of the entire movie.

“Make up your mind. Kill me, or fuck me”

Guess what guys. They fuck. How could that not when Anna’s flirting style is: “You point a gun at my pussy and then invite me to bed? I like your style.”

Okay, so I should let you in on who Rembrant is if you have not seen the movie. Rembrant works for the people who wanted and got Moody killed. He approaches Q all nice like, but that is just a tease too have her book shop shot up and get her kidnapped. Rembrant’s men torture Q, but he comes in a knight in sexy armor and immediately sees that Q is more than her looks. He is fascinated, and she likes his style. Together they have a classic friend-foe, will-they-won’t-they, can we really trust each other relationship. Who comes (get it, cause they have sex) out on top? Watch The Protégé and find out.

So now that I have given enough a tease in not spoiling the best part of The Protégé, let’s get to the point of the matter. The only gripe that really takes this movie from good, too merely above par.

Did we need Moody to come back? I mean it makes all the sense that they would not kill off Samuel L. Jackson after just 10 minutes of camera time. I was surprised when he initially died, but when we never saw his full body sprayed out on the floor, I immediately knew that he was going to be coming back at some point. The only question was really when he was going to come back. I thought it might have been when Anna was with Rembrant in bed. I could picture Jackson delivering some sort of clever line in the moment. Naturally Moody comes out of the shadows to save Anna at her lowest and most dangerous moments. It was predictable, and worthy of a shoulder shrug.

My biggest takeaway from The Protégé? I would not mind seeing more Maggie Q in my life. Can we get a sequel? Maybe The Apprentice, or The Teacher? Something to further along this story? I would not mind this at all. I had a fun time watching The Protégé and I’ll be revisiting Keaton and Q’s violent flirting on YouTube in the years following.

STANKO RATING: B- (3.0/5 Stars)

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