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The Protege - What We Know So Far

While the action genre conjures up the idea of famous entries such as the 1988 film "Die Hard" and the 2002 film "The Bourne Identity," the genre itself is far more encompassing. Anything from the films in the "John Wick" franchise to movies about fighting aliens, like 2011's "Attack The Block" or 2014's "Edge of Tomorrow," can fall under the umbrella, leaving film fans with an embarrassment of riches that grows every year.

2021 is no different in that regard, as the year has already given the action genre numerous new entries, such as "F9," the latest entry in the "Fast & Furious" franchise, "Army of the Dead," the latest feature from Zack Snyder, and "Wrath of Man," Guy Ritchie's newest feature. The rest of the year shows no signs of slowing down, and one of the more exciting additions to the genre is poised to be "The Protégé." Here's what we know about the film so far.

When is the release date of The Protégé?

"The Protégé" is currently set to be released on August 20, 2021, in theaters only. The film, like many others, suffered from release date shuffling by distribution studio Lionsgate in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was initially slated to be released on April 23, 2021, with "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" poised to be released on August 20 instead, as per Deadline. Lionsgate, however, subsequently pushed up the release of "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" to June, reported by Deadline, leaving the space open for "The Protégé," as per The Hollywood Reporter. The film has also gone through a number of title changes, first being called "Ana" before being renamed to "The Asset," the name it had while shooting, per Variety. The studio ultimately settled on "The Protégé."

The movie itself began shooting in January 2020 (via Production List), and had shooting locations in Los Angeles, London, Bucharest, and DaNang, taking it to three continents in the process. Despite the numerous locations, the quick turnaround in post-production suggests minimal use of CGI or other computer effects. This is encouraging news for an action movie and is likely to set "The Protégé" apart from much of its competition at the box office.

Who is in the cast of The Protégé?

The cast of "The Protégé" is led by Maggie Q in the lead role. Maggie is no stranger to action, having been previously seen in supporting roles in both "Mission: Impossible III" and "Live Free or Die Hard." She also played the titular role in the CW action series "Nikita" for the entirety of the show's four seasons and has been seen in the CBS series "Stalker" as Beth Davis and the ABC/Netflix series "Designated Survivor" as Hannah Wells.

"The Protégé" also stars Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton. Jackson and Keaton both have illustrious acting careers, with Jackson having appeared earlier this year in "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" and "Spiral." Keaton, meanwhile, is best known for playing Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne in the 1989 film "Batman" and its 1992 sequel "Batman Returns," and he has also received an Oscar nomination for his lead role in the 2014 film "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)." Both Jackson and Keaton have also appeared in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," with Jackson playing Nick Fury and Keaton playing Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture.

Robert Patrick, best known for playing the villain T-1000 in the 1991 film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," is also among the film's supporting cast. Gong Li, who appeared in the 2020 Disney live-action remake of "Mulan" as Xianniang, had also signed on to the movie, according to Variety, but does not appear in the film's final IMDb credits.

What is the plot of The Protégé?

"The Protégé" revolves around Anna, played by Maggie Q, a skilled assassin who was raised and trained in the business by Moody (Jackson) a legendary assassin himself. Anna returns home one day to find Moody dead. Vowing to avenge his murder, Anna finds out that Moody was killed because he successfully assassinated someone years ago, and her search for answers leads her to a mysterious figure named Rembrandt, played by Keaton. Anna pushes to know the truth and get to the people who killed Moody despite Rembrandt's warnings, and Rembrandt and Anna develop a complex relationship of their own in the process.

The film is an original screenplay written by Richard Wenk, who previously penned the 2014 film "The Equalizer" and its 2018 sequel "The Equalizer 2," both of which starred Denzel Washington and were directed by Antoine Fuqua. The movie itself is directed by Martin Campbell, who has helmed two James Bond films, 1996's "GoldenEye" and 2006's "Casino Royale." Campbell was last seen in theaters with "The Foreigner," which starred Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan, as well as Ray Fearon, who appears in a supporting role in "The Protégé" as well.

With a number of action genre veterans both in front of and behind the camera, "The Protégé" comes with a lot of promise. How these different individuals manage to work together will be seen when the film is released in theaters in August.