The Killer's Code
Martin Campbell's latest action film is a non-stop race to the finish line, no matter what. The hitman's code, executed in Bond style, moves forward with luxury and grace; that is, until the story goes off the rails. The film boasts a solid cast and does deliver some exciting action, but when the credits roll, nothing stands out as memorable. Protégé is terrible in its detail, prioritizing the bloody finishing kills and the shock value of everything else. At its core, the film is a tale of revenge. Unfortunately, viewers don't get to know the characters enough to care about revenge.
As a child, Moody (Samuel L. Jackson), a notorious assassin who was finishing up a stint in Vietnam, saved her parents. Anna (Maggie Q) watched as her parents were brutally murdered before her eyes and grew up with darkness inside her; thus, she was an ideal student for Moody. After 30 years of on-the-job training, Anna finds the perfect balance in her life. Her false sense of security suddenly disappears when everyone around her is brutally murdered. As Anna takes on a new job searching for their killer, she faces a host of villains, including the sophisticated and evil Rembrandt (Michael Keaton).
«The Killer Code» is one of those films that explodes as it progresses. There's a lot going on: gunfire, explosions, tension. But this comes at the expense of actual plot or character development. The main characters are not necessarily likable, and the audience doesn't know much about them. The villains are even worse, as their mysterious motivations never seem intriguing and the payoff falls flat. It's a shame, because if Campbell and screenwriter Richard Wenk had spent a little more time developing the story, they could have made a great movie.
The game is completely adequate. No one really stands out, except maybe Keaton's performance as Rembrandt. He is the only character who seems truly interesting, and "Protégé" it would have been better to use it to expand his character a bit. The movie is at its best when the guns are shooting, the actors are reckless, and everything is moving fast. There's a sense of flow to these scenes that Campbell does very well, it's a shame the rest of the film is so boring.
If you go to the theater expecting a mindless action movie, this won't be such a disappointment. Protégé never tries to be anything more, for which he should be applauded. The disappointment, however, is that after its 109-minute running time, nothing really stands out. The bones of a great murder thriller are here, but its lack of substance is ultimately The Protégé's downfall.
Tags: Action Detective Crime