Maggie Q ought to actually be the star of “The Protege.” She’s in nearly each scene, whether or not lined in blood or couture. However high billing for this thriller goes to Michael Keaton, who saunters in by the 22-minute mark. What does a woman should do?
Q followers will simply in all probability be grateful that she manages to make it to the final scene of the movie alive, given all of the capturing, explosions, knives and torture in “The Protege,” a glossy by-product diversion.
She performs Anna, an orphan adopted by a really rich veteran murderer — performed by Samuel L. Jackson — and is molded into an elite murderer herself. In her spare time, she runs a uncommon e book store in London, as most elite assassins do.
In the future, Keaton’s character stops by. He’s a rival elite murderer who can quote obscure Edgar Allen Poe poems by coronary heart in addition to acknowledge an amazing pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps. Like her, he can ID a gun’s model just by listening to it cocked. “I discover you attention-grabbing,” he tells her. Viewers members might perk up at this second: This IS attention-grabbing.
The reemergence of a decades-old assassination then triggers the plot into overdrive, taking us from London to Da Nang, Vietnam. Somebody is murdering everybody that Q’s Anna holds expensive. One way or the other she holds it collectively. In any case, there’s no crying in murderer motion pictures.
It’s at this level that the movie needs an excessive amount of, stretched between a blood-soaked, martial arts-and-gunplay revenge flick and a dance between would-be lovers. It’s “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” mashed with “La Femme Nikita,” which is humorous as a result of a CW sequence model of “La Femme Nikita” starred Q from 2010-13.
“I’m going to search out out who killed my associates,” Anna declares. “I’m going to finish their life and anybody standing in my approach.”
The filmmakers are very versed in cool, stylish professional-led violence. It’s written by Richard Wenk (“The Equalizer” movie franchise) and directed by Martin Campbell (“On line casino Royale”).
Q has some strains that slay, like when she’s bleeding badly and advised she doesn’t look so good. “Oh, I don’t know. Nothing an apple martini and a liter of AB+ received’t repair.” Or, in a testy showdown with a rival: “Let’s hope this doesn’t get messy. These are my favourite sneakers.”
However so many cliches abound. Do all baddies should drive shiny black Vary Rovers and put on thick gold necklaces over their turtlenecks? Do all mob bosses should swim in an luxurious indoor pool surrounded by frescos whereas opera performs? Are evil safety particulars so dumb that they use drones and helicopters however may be tricked by a easy haircut?
On the movie’s heart is Q however there’s a hollowness there. She will be able to rappel down a staircase utilizing a fireplace hose, endure waterboarding and use a dinner tray as an assault weapon, however there’s little perception in her interior life or feelings and her backstory seems too late. Alone on display she is marooned in her personal movie, radiating merely steely watchfulness. She wants scenes with others to return alive. Possibly that explains the dearth of high billing.
Keaton provides a delightfully unstable, wry humor and electrical energy — “I might put two behind your head and go make a sandwich,” he boasts to Anna — and Jackson is Jackson, spewing fact bombs and jokes, threatening to steal the movie away from each of them.
All this climaxes in a sequence of clumsy makes an attempt to finish the film, lastly doing so with a clunky closing scene that’s both unhealthy movie enhancing or writing. It’s like one thing that Keaton’s character says earlier to Anna: “I’m not gonna mislead you: There’s not a lot likelihood this ends nicely for you.” He’s proper.
“The Protege,” a Lionsgate launch, is rated R for sturdy and bloody violence, language, some sexual references and temporary nudity. Operating time: 109 minutes. One and a half stars out of 4.
MPAA definition of R: Restricted. Underneath 17 requires accompanying mum or dad or grownup guardian.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits