“The Protege” (Lionsgate)

Maggie Q stars in a scene from the movie "The Protege." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Jichichi Raul, Lionsgate)

By Catholic News Service

After her mentor, a contract killer (Samuel L. Jackson), is slain while investigating a shady business executive (Patrick Malahide), a skilled assassin (Maggie Q) resolves to close the case and avenge the murder. But the intrigue into which she intrudes brings her up against an equally gifted criminal (Michael Keaton) who briefly becomes her lover but remains her deadly adversary.

Director Martin Campbell’s sleek yet brutal thriller is morally heedless, justifying Jackson’s character on the grounds that he only targets bad guys, endorsing his pupil’s drive for revenge and presenting a debased view of human sexuality.

Excessive gory violence, including torture, gruesome sights, a benignly viewed suicide, a vengeance theme, implied casual sex, brief upper female nudity, at least one mild oath, frequent rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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