Maggie Q is back in badass mode for 2021’s action/revenge thriller, The Protégé. Q is no stranger to the genre, especially considering her tenure through four seasons of CW’s Nikita. An impressive ensemble cast rounded out by Samuel L. Jackson as legendary assassin Moody (a trained killer who “only kills bad people”) and heavyweight Michael Keaton as mysterious Rembrandt (basically Maggie Q’s rival and de facto movie villain) handles the setup for what should be an easy home run. Regrettably, the missteps become too numerous to ignore, making for an uneven shoot-em-up with some glaring flaws.
Anna (Maggie Q) has been raised her whole life by Moody after he rescues her from a young age—no surprise, she grows up into a skilled contract killer. A chunk of the story deals with Anna trying to find her place in the world, as well as how to manage her powers. When Moody is killed, Anna makes it her personal mission to track down everyone involved and make them pay…
Who am I supposed to be rooting for here? The characters are disappointingly flat for a feature practically exploding with star power. Obviously Anna gets the most development, but even she comes up short of being a character one can root for and engage with. A modern femme fatale with lethal abilities is a lovely concept, and Maggie Q is at least game for the pulpy violence. All manner of exciting ass-kicking provides a backbone for Anna’s streak of angry vengeance.
Plot holes aplenty and suspension of disbelief notwithstanding, The Protégé could hit the target for casual fans of Q, or just those who love to see a strong female lead not afraid to stand her ground. Bloodied and bruised, Anna proclaims at one point that it is “nothing an apple martini won’t fix.” Unfortunately, the work needed for The Protégé to become a great movie will take more than a few glasses of alcohol.
The Protégé puts a hit on you when it debuts in theaters on Friday, August 20th.