A Film and TV Review by Tim Riley

THE PROTÉGÉ” RATED R Netflix’s “Gunpowder Milkshake” has as its protagonist a young woman who’s quite proficient as a professional contract killer. Meanwhile, the same situation is at hand in “The Protégé,” a stylish action thriller with a deadly efficient female assassin. In a 1991 prologue, we find a young Vietnamese girl hiding in a closet and holding a gun she used to kill the murderers of her parents. Rescued by legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson), the young girl is trained in the business.Now an adult, Maggie Q’s Anna, teamed in an apprenticeship with her father figure Moody, becomes a skilled contract killer in her own right, all the while running her own London store selling rare books as her true passion.

With a nagging cough and a looming retirement seeming inevitable, Moody’s days as a wily assassin may be coming to an end. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Michael Rembrandt (Michael Keaton) visits Anna’s bookstore, setting in motion an inevitable cat-and-mouse game.While there’s an oddly flirtatious situation between Anna and the much older Rembrandt, the romantic friction only delays for the moment the fact that Rembrandt is an agent for a crime boss hiding out in Vietnam who presents a danger for Moody and Anna.

Not wanting to return to her homeland as the result of bad childhood memories, Anna must nevertheless seek out the mysterious crime lord while getting some help from a biker gang led by Robert Patrick’s Billy Boy, who would look more at home at a rally in Sturgis.Anna goes from looking glamorous in a sleek red dress at a fancy restaurant dinner with Rembrandt to becoming a hostage being tortured by waterboarding by a bunch of thugs who ultimately prove no match for this assassin.Directed by Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”), one can be forgiven for having the notion that “The Protégé” is like a test run for having Maggie Q in a future role of a female James Bond. She certainly demonstrates the chops for a tough secret agent.An action picture offering gripping escapism, “The Protégé” is worth watching if for no better reason than enjoying Maggie Q’s fierce take on lethal vengeance which delivers an exciting excess of breakneck thrills.

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers, in New York City. On Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, Rupa Bhattacharyya, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund special master, announced that the compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks will cut future payments by 50 to 70 percent because the fund is running out of money. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)


Not surprisingly with the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on our mainland coming on September 11th, a variety of 9/11 documentaries are scheduled across various platforms. At the end of August, National Geographic Channel will premiere the six-part documentary series “9/11: One Day in America” made in official collaboration with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.The series offers a comprehensive account of the day using archival footage – some never before seen – and new, original interviews with eyewitnesses who now have had almost two decades to reflect on the events they lived through. The perspective of first responders and survivors includes the first FDNY chief to arrive at the World Trade Center and a firefighter who escaped the North Tower just before it collapsed. Paramedics recall their devastating encounters of searching for life in the rubble.

The History Channel plans an extensive observance of the 9/11 anniversary with a series of seven hours of documentary programming, beginning with “9/11: The Legacy,” a poignant sharing of stories from young adults who were children impacted by the terrorist attack.Rise and Fall: The World Trade Center” covers the first terrorist attack during the 1993 bombing and unpacks in vivid detail a timeline of how and why the building fell after commercial airliners flew into the towers on September 11.Through personal narratives of family and friends, “9/11: Four Flights” tells the riveting and emotional human stories of those aboard each doomed jetliner. We probably recall the final heart-wrenching phone calls and harrowing yet heroic moments especially on the United 93 flight. Featuring rare footage and audio, “9/11: I Was There” unveils an intimate portrayal of the events of September 11 captured by ordinary people who chose to pick up their video cameras that day.

A two-hour documentary, “9/11: I Was There” puts viewers in the shoes of New Yorkers and visitors alike to unfold the tragedy, the fear of what was next and the horrific aftermath to follow resulting in a raw and unfiltered telling of that fateful day.Apple TV+ announced “9/11” Inside the President’s War Room” which tells the story of 9/11 through the eyes of President George W. Bush and his team of key decision makers who responded for the nation during the 12 hours after the strike on that horrific day.The Apple TV+ documentary will feature never-before-heard testimony not only from President Bush, but from administration officials that include Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chief of Staff Andy Card, among others.

Anyone of a certain age to remember September 11, 2001 will be likely moved by the storytelling of a dark chapter in our history and yet be inspired by those who displayed feats of heroism and altruism in response.