Protg review

When a film relies on a nipper for its charm – in this instance a sprog seemingly crossed with a bunny rabbit for optimum cuteness and heart-string yankage – you know it’s in trouble. Such is the case in Protégé, which desperately wants to be China’s answer to American Gangster, but doesn’t have Scott’s narrative chops. Daniel Wu is the copper trailing a drug lord into the depths of Asia’s narcotic underworld, only to find life complicated by his junkie single-mom neighbour (the impressive Jingchu Zhang). Sadly, while the performances are strong, there’s some unintentionally hilarious direction (check out the suicidal freefall) and an over-dependence on credibility-grasping narcotic factoids. All of which adds up to make this a jumbled pseudo-crime caper in the fits of an identity crisis. A fantastic, moody score adds scale, but ultimately the disparate parts never coalesce into a decent whole. Still, cute kid.

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