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The Protégé

The Protégé -

This is a decent combination dad/airport novel movie that slipped through the cracks during the pandemic. Anna (Q) is a Vietnamese hitwoman living in London whose surrogate father, Moody (Jackson), rescued her from a room full of dead bodies when she was a child and taught her his trade. Shortly after taking a missing person assignment, everything in her life is destroyed overnight. Anna's investigation leads her back to her homeland where she hopes to get answers, revenge and reckon with her past.

So, what makes this movie stand out from the seemingly dozens of "veteran contract killer seeks vengeance" movies produced since Taken exceeded expectations? Not much, but there are some things in it worth complementing. It's nice to simply watch Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton, who plays a mysterious visitor to Anna's bookstore day job, do their thing. They're the kind of scenery-chewing roles for which actors like them get first pick and rightly so. The action also isn't half bad, and since the bad guys are ones for our times - there are few Vietnamese natives on screen despite most of the action occurring there for a reason, in other words - it offers worthwhile catharsis. The cinematography and production design also create sufficient atmosphere and the flashbacks with a young Anna and an amusingly mustachioed Moody provide welcome character building. Other than that, it’s reheated comfort food through and through. If you still can't get enough of this subgenre and/or want to see a movie that feels like it should have a late summer/early fall release date, you could do worse. I just recommend saving it to watch on your next plane ride.