Home » Media »  The Protege

The Protege


Maggie Q stars in a scene from the movie "The Protege." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Jichichi Raul, Lionsgate) EDITOR'S NOTE: EMBARGOED UNTIL 7 P.M. (EDT)

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Director Martin Campbell's sleek yet brutal thriller "The Protege" (Lionsgate) not only depicts the activities of its principal characters, all of them assassins, in unsparing bloody detail. It also presents its own alternate version of morality.

Under the ethical code espoused in Richard Wenk's script, it's OK to terminate bad guys, it's a duty to seek revenge and it's only to be expected that relative strangers who feel a mutual attraction should sleep together. All of that is subordinate, however, to the film's real agenda, which is simply to unleash a sexy female killing machine.

That would be Maggie Q in the guise of Vietnamese American Anna. As an initial sequence show us, 30 years back, topnotch hit man Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) stumbled across orphaned Anna in her homeland and, as proof that a murderer can have a heart of gold, took the little girl under his wing.

Flash forward to the present where Moody and Anna share a bond that's part foster-father-and-daughter, part professional partnership. So, when Moody is slain while investigating the background of a shady Vietnam-based business executive called Vohl (Patrick Malahide), Anna resolves to close the case and avenge the murder.

The intrigue into which she intrudes, however, proves complex and brings her up against Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), a criminal with gifts equal to her own. Their rivalry is interspersed with flirting, and they eventually pause long enough in their efforts to eliminate each other to share a roll in the hay.

Long before the moral heedlessness of Wenk's world gives cover to a climactic suicide, viewers of faith will find it a thoroughly alien and uncomfortable environment. In the lead-up to that event, they'll be left to wonder, among other things, at the spectacle of a paid killer lecturing a corrupt corporate mogul on the superiority of his own brand of evildoing over that of the tycoon.

Presented with such a choice, wise moviegoers will opt for none of the above.

The film contains excessive gory violence, including torture, gruesome sights, a benignly viewed suicide, a vengeance theme, implied casual sex, brief upper female nudity, at least one mild oath and frequent rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

- - -

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

- - -

CAPSULE REVIEW

"The Protege" (Lionsgate)

After her mentor, a contract killer (Samuel L. Jackson), is slain while investigating a shady business executive (Patrick Malahide), a skilled assassin (Maggie Q) resolves to close the case and avenge the murder. But the intrigue into which she intrudes brings her up against an equally gifted criminal (Michael Keaton) who briefly becomes her lover but remains her deadly adversary. Director Martin Campbell's sleek yet brutal thriller is morally heedless, justifying Jackson's character on the grounds that he only targets bad guys, endorsing his pupil's drive for revenge and presenting a debased view of human sexuality. Excessive gory violence, including torture, gruesome sights, a benignly viewed suicide, a vengeance theme, implied casual sex, brief upper female nudity, at least one mild oath, frequent rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

- - -

CLASSIFICATION

"The Protege" (Lionsgate) -- Catholic News Service classification, O -- morally offensive. Motion Picture Association rating, R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

Submit a Letter to the Editor