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The Protege | 2021 | R | – 6.8.7

content-ratingsWhy is “The Protege” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “strong and bloody violence, language, some sexual references and brief nudity.” The evaluation includes an implied sex scene, topless women and men, a near rape, the murder of a young girl’s family with one parent beheaded and the others shot, many fights with deaths and bloody wounds, many gunfights with bloody wounds and dead bodies shown, a scene of waterboarding, stabbings with a lot of blood spraying, discovery of dead bodies with bloody wounds, over 20 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.

After a child efficiently dispatches the gang that murdered her family, she is rescued by a professional assassin (Samuel L. Jackson), who trains her as one of the world’s most lethal contract killers (Maggie Q). When her mentor is murdered, she seeks revenge, but another skilled killer (Michael Keaton) stands in her way. Also with David Rintoul, Patrick Malahide, Ray Fearon, Ori Pfeffer and Robert Patrick. Directed by Martin Campbell. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in Romanian with English subtitles. [Running Time: 1:49]

The Protege SEX/NUDITY 6

 – During a fight between a man and a woman, they end up in suggestive positions and very close to each other and the man asks the woman to make up her mind between killing him or having sex with him (using graphic terms); we then see them in bed (sex is implied), and the man is shirtless (his bare chest and shoulders are seen) and the woman is covered with a sheet to the upper chest. A man enters a room and opens drapes as he yells at someone in a bed; two nude women get out of the bed (we see their bare breasts, abdomens and legs, and sex is implied with a man in the bed) and the man wakes up (we see his bare chest and abdomen).
 A man invites a woman to join him in his hotel room. A man sings a love song, clears off a table and prepares a blanket as he looks at a young girl suggestively (implying that he is going to rape her; please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A man wears speed-o type swim trunks and we see his bare chest, abdomen, back and legs. A young man wearing boxer briefs (chest, abdomen and legs are shown) is seen dead (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A woman wears a low-cut camisole that reveals cleavage and bare shoulders. A woman wears a dress that reveals her shoulders, cleavage, back and legs to the mid-thighs.


 – A woman flashes back to being a child and watching her family murdered; three men attack her mother and cut off her head, another man shoots her two sisters and then her father (blood sprays) and the first man holds the child’s mother’s severed head in front of her face (we see blood dripping from the neck wound). A van is approached by many armed men, the driver is pulled out of the vehicle, thrown to the ground and searched for weapons before she is taken to see a man; the man punches the woman in the stomach, she gags briefly, he threatens to cut her to pieces and feed her to his pigs and the woman stabs him in the neck (blood sprays) and he falls into the pool dead (blood spreads in the pool water); she then breaks another man’s neck and beats a third man before leaving the area while other armed men follow her and try to shoot her but they are each shot and fall dead (we see blood splatter). A man shoots another man in the head (blood splatters and more blood runs down his face and head). A woman slashes a man on the face (we see blood on his face and a bandage on the wound in later scenes), shoots two other men and climbs into a ceiling where she shoots a man attempting to follow her and several other men shoot at her through the ceiling; she engages the sprinkler system, falls through the ceiling and holds a man with a gun to his head before running away and electrifying a puddle of water electrocuting men chasing her, sliding down a firehose and running into a street where is struck by a car (we see her on the ground with blood on her head and face). A woman is bound to a chair and questioned, she is shown being tortured by waterboarding several times and we see her thrashing on the table with a cloth over her head. Three men enter a cell where a woman is being held, one wraps a sheet around the woman’s neck, another slams her against the wall and she is lifted off the floor by the sheet around her neck; she thrashes and reaches a bed frame with her foot, kicks one man, kneels on his back and frees herself to beat the other men with a tray repeatedly and wraps the third man with the sheet and slams him into a sink (he lies motionless with blood on the sink). A soldier at a border crossing holds a gun on a young girl, and another man shoots the soldier and several others to get the girl away safely. A man wraps a rope around another man’s throat in a market, he struggles and a woman slashes him with a knife; they fight and he stabs the woman with the knife (we see blood), another man shoots at the man, three men fight in a restaurant kitchen where a man beats another man with an ax and breaks his arm and leg (we hear crunching and screaming) before slamming his head on a spike with a squish. A man goes to a door and is shot by someone inside (we see blood spray and he falls dead). A man is held underwater in a bathtub and is later shown hanging over the tub, dead. A man shoots at a woman through a wall, she walks through an apartment looking for him, he kicks her and they fight, she shoots through a fridge door and he is thrown back and sprayed with milk, they continue to fight and the man is thrown onto a glass top table that shatters (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A woman is shot in the side (we see blood and she moans), she falls to the ground and the shooter approaches to shoot her again, but he is shot dead by another man. A woman flashes back to her childhood when she is held captive by men and it is implied that one man is going to rape her; the young girl gets a gun and shoots the man and three others (we see bloody wounds and splatter). A man and woman hold guns on each other; we hear two gunshots from the street and see flashes.
 A woman with a gun enters a house and finds a woman shot dead on the floor (we see a large bloody abdominal wound) and the woman imagines what happened: we see the dead woman being shot and thrown and a man grabs a gun and runs to another room where he is shot and falls into a bathtub (we see a body with very bloody wounds and blood is splattered in the tub). A woman goes to a dry cleaner and finds a young man dead in a pressing machine (we see his skin severely charred and bloody).
 A man with a gun enters a room and finds several dead men with multiple bloody bullet wounds on their bodies; the man opens a closet door and finds a young girl with blood splattered on her face holding a gun and she pulls the trigger but the gun does not discharge. A man shoots a dead man in the face and the very bloody body. A woman with bloody gunshot wounds stumbles through an alley and into an abandoned building.
 Armed men outside a book store shoot through the glass toward a woman that dodges the bullets and falls to the floor (we see a lot of damaged merchandise and furniture); the woman lies behind and overturned table and two gunmen enter the building, the woman shoots one of the men (we see bloody wounds) and the other man runs away. Many people on motorcycles surround a man in a limousine and threaten him at gunpoint; a woman gets into the vehicle and threatens him verbally. A man gagged with tape over his mouth and bound in a vehicle and when the tape is removed, the man yells at someone on a telephone. A woman holds a gun on a man under a table in a restaurant; the man holds a gun on the woman under the table and they exchange witty banter. A woman draws a gun in a crowded room, a man draws his gun and charges through guests knocking them down before tackling the woman, his gun discharges and she is shot in the abdomen (we see blood); she rushes out among many other people trying to get away, the man chases her and shoots her in the shoulder, and they fight.
 A car explodes in a crowded market area and a ball of flames is shot into the air. An explosive is detonated and a part of a building is shown in flames as glass blows out of windows (it is implied that people inside are killed). Many people on motorcycles ride on a road and are forced to make way when a single motorcycle speeds through them the opposite direction; one man falls off his motorcycle (we do not see injuries). High security is deployed at an estate before a party including guard dogs, drones and a safe bunker for a man.
 A man coughs deeply in several scenes and we understand that he is terminally ill; he injects himself in the leg with something a few times that seems to ease the coughing. A woman lies shivering in a bed with bloody wounds on her face and a man feeds her bone broth saying that it will help with inflammation and healing. A man bandages a woman’s gunshot wound and she moans and yells when he applies adhesive to the open wound.
 A man tells a woman to watch her fingers when she reaches to pet a calf and he says that the animal bites. A woman teases a man and asks, “You believe you are going up?” A young man is described as being unable to speak, deaf, blind and requiring constant care. A man says that a woman’s hand was cut off and fed to the dogs.

The Protege LANGUAGE 7

 – About 22 F-words and its derivatives, 2 sexual references, 9 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for lesbians, name-calling (pig, stupid, boy wonder, bad man, Butcher of Bucharest, evil, awkward, unwise, testy, Killer of Men, little chameleon, lucky, corrupt, monster, big bad wolf, crusty heart, boy, cockroach you can’t kill, heifer, bastards, witch, voodoo queen), exclamations (wow, boy, huh, hah), 2 religious exclamations (God). | profanity glossary |


 – A man injects himself in the leg with a medication to help him with a chronic cough. Many empty liquor bottles are seen in a room where men have been drinking, a woman prepares a martini, a man pours a scotch, people drink in a restaurant scene, a man drinks whiskey and a woman drinks a martini in a restaurant scene, people drink beer at a roadside café, and people drink at a party. A man smokes a large cigar in a limousine and in an office.


 – Kidnapping, murder, orphans, death of family, war crimes, Vietnam, human trafficking, terminal illness, sarin gas, changing the past.

The Protege MESSAGE

 – You can’t change the past but you can try to change where you’re going.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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