The Protégé is a 2021 American action thriller film directed by Martin Campbell, written by Richard Wenk, and starring Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, and Samuel L. Jackson. The supporting cast features Patrick Malahide, David Rintoul, Ori Pfeffer, Ray Fearon, Caroline Loncq, and Robert Patrick. The film was released on August 20, 2021 by Lionsgate. It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $8 million.
|Directed by||Martin Campbell|
|Written by||Richard Wenk|
|Edited by||Angela M. Catanzaro|
|Music by||Rupert Parkes|
|Box office||$8.2 million|
Anna is an assassin raised by Moody after he discovered her in the aftermath of a massacre in Da Nang, where she killed four men who had kidnapped her. For years, they traversed the globe and completed high-profile contracts—settling in England where she runs a rare-book store and he lives in a manor house. She first encounters Rembrandt in her store when he comes in on the pretext of buying a gift.
In the present day, Anna and Moody kill a Romanian mafia boss by taking his son hostage and using him as a bait. Anna and Moody celebrate his birthday, where he gives her insight into a person he is trying to find information on. In the following days, Moody and anyone Anna contacted to gain information on the person Moody was searching for is brutally killed. Anna seeks vengeance after finding her contacts murdered and her shop is attacked by assassins. She believes that an assassination target from Moody's past in Vietnam, Edward Hayes, has a connection to his death and the individual Moody was searching for. While there she learns the person Moody was searching for was Edward Hayes' son. He is mentally disabled, but well cared for in a facility that has a wealthy benefactor who provides the money necessary for his care. Anna also learns of Vohl, Edward Hayes' partner who took over the company after Hayes' death. She sets a meeting with Vohl, but Duquet, Vohl's lawyer, kills him to prevent Vohl from divulging any information to Anna. Anna attacks Duquet, and is captured after a chase. Duquet tortures her to see why she is after Edward's son. Rembrandt visits Anna in the cell and says that he, like Duquet, works for the same person, but says that his methods are apart from them and he was not involved with the shooting in the library. After Duquet leaves the gang goes to her cell and tries to hang her, but she defeats them and escapes. Rembrandt blames Duquet and his harsh methods for her escape.
After a dinner date between Rembrandt and Anna, Rembrandt gets into a street fight with local thugs hired by Duquet but survives. Meanwhile, Anna kills Duquet. Rembrandt arrives and sees Duquet was hanged. Unaware of Anna, she ambushes him and fights with him, but in the end, they decide to have sex. While walking in the street, Anna is shot by one of Duquet's men but is rescued by Moody. Moody reveals to her that he faked his death by disguising his attempted killer as himself and shot his attacker in the face so that he could not be identified.
Edward Hayes is revealed to be alive. He plans to hold a banquet and takes extreme precautions to prevent any intrusion. This involves vetting all staff with identification bracelets and a safe room in a bunker that he can escape to. Anna disguises herself as a waitress, but is discovered by Rembrandt when he sees she does not have a staff bracelet. Anna attempts to shoot Edward, but is stopped by Rembrandt and the missed shots cause panic in the banquet ballroom. Anna escapes during the ensuing chaos, but Rembrandt follows her. Hayes is moved to his safe room, but Moody had infiltrated it before the disturbance. Edward reveals that he faked his death to protect his son from people that would do him harm by attacking his family. Moody is not persuaded because of all the misdeeds Edward has participated in over the decades since he faked his death. During this exchange, Anna is pursued by Rembrandt, but escapes the banquet after Moody detonates a bomb in the bunker, killing both himself and Edward.
In a flashback, Anna witnesses her mother beheaded, and her father and sisters shot by a local gang. Anna is captured and taken by the gang to their base, the location shown at the beginning of the film. The gang's leader assembles one of two disassembled pistols lying on a table while young Anna watches, memorizing the steps. The mob leader briefly leaves the room. When he returns Anna kills the group after assembling the second pistol.
The film returns to Rembrandt, who receives a text message from Anna. He goes to the coordinates given in the text message, and finds Anna. They aim their guns at each other and two shots are heard; Anna can be seen leaving the place.
- Maggie Q as Anna Dutton
- Eva Nguyen Thorsen as Young Anna Dutton
- Samuel L. Jackson as Moody Dutton
- Michael Keaton as Michael Rembrandt
- Robert Patrick as Billy Boy
- Patrick Malahide as Vohl
- David Rintoul as Edward Hayes
- Ori Pfeffer as Athens
- Ray Fearon as Duquet
- Caroline Loncg as Claudia
- Florin Piersic Jr. as Ram
- Tudor Chirilă as Petru
- Velizar Binev as Don Preda
- George Piștereanu as Vali
- Alexandru Bordea as Anna's father
- Tanja Keller as Anna's mother
In October 2017, it was announced that Gong Li had joined the cast of the film, then titled Ana, with Martin Campbell directing from a screenplay by Richard Wenk. In November 2019, it was announced Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson and Maggie Q had joined the cast of the film.
In the United States and Canada, The Protégé was released alongside Reminiscence, The Night House, and PAW Patrol: The Movie as well as the limited release of Flag Day and was projected to gross around $5 million from 2,577 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $1.1 million on its first day, and went on to debut to just $2.9 million, finishing seventh at the box office. The film fell 44% in its second weekend to $1.6 million.
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 60% based on 88 reviews, with an average rating of 5.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Maggie Q's still waiting for the action movie that really deserves her -- but until then, The Protégé hits just hard enough to satisfy." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 76% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 50% saying they would definitely recommend it.
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