HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Fourth Protocol, The Explosive TendenciesBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: John Mackenzie
Stars: Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan, Ned Beatty, Joanna Cassidy, Julian Glover, Michael Gough, Ray McAnally, Ian Richardson, Anton Rodgers, Caroline Blakiston, Joseph Brady, Betsy Brantley, Sean Chapman, Matt Frewer, Jerry Harte, Ronald Pickup, Philip Jackson
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: After the British traitor Kim Philby has been assassinated in secret by a branch of the Soviet authorities, it triggers off a new plan to destabilise the West; there have been unwritten protocols agreed between the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, and the fourth is all that is left. It states that no country owning nuclear arms will smuggle them into a rival country and set them off in secret, essentially using underhand tactics to destroy part of that nation instead of sending a missile or dropping them from a military plane. But now a KGB agent, Valeri Petrofsky (Pierce Brosnan) has been despatched undercover to set up an atomic device that will destroy not only a U.S. air base but also the land from miles around, and the British know nothing about it...

As you can guess from a movie that takes revenge on Kim Philby in cinematic form during its first minute, The Fourth Protocol was a rather right wing project, dreamt up by the author of the book it was based on, Frederick Forsyth, a Cold War potboiler whose idea of a grand plan of villainy would be Moscow installing a Labour Government in eighties Britain. That part was left out of this, so what you had was a rather stately spy saga which pitted Harry Palmer against James Bond, as Brosnan would become in the future, and Michael Caine had been in the past. Caine played British agent John Preston, who is the only thing standing between the public and nuclear disaster as it is he who notices something is up when a sailor is killed in an accident then is found to be carrying a suspicious disc.

Not like a CD, a disc of potent material of the sort a bomb could utilise, but this revelation occurred when the story was well progressed, leaving you watching Preston stuck with catching up on what we in the audience already know. It would have been good to see Caine and Brosnan share a few tense scenes, yet in effect they barely shared the screen, leaving a film of two intercut halves as Petrofsky puts his plan into action and Preston trails along behind him putting two and two together to make five as his bosses are more obstinate and unreasoning than those in a whole collection of eighties maverick cop flicks. Naturally this makes Preston look just anti-establishment enough to render the movie as a sensible point of view in the Cold War rather than the reactionary runaround (or walkaround, for much of it) it actually was.

Still, if this was no help in understanding the tension between East and West at the end of the Soviet grip on the East, then at least you got a glimpse of Britain in that era, whether it be such details as the Ford Fiestas puttering along the motorways or Big Daddy performing a "splash" on an opponent during the wrestling on television, all constructing a mood of aspiration for a future that was by no means guaranteed and a lingering past that was grounding society in the conventions of what had gone before. Was 1987 a particularly pivotal year? Possibly not, but The Fourth Protocol offered a snapshot of its mid-point position with its lack of realisation the Cold War was drawing to a close and the computers it regularly showcases as the most exciting new things to happen along since... well, since whatever the last items of technology were.

Oddly, though it would have been nice to see Caine as an older, even more cynical Harry Palmer there was little of the charm of that character allowed as he was surprisingly staid, as befitting a rather stuffy tale trying and failing to get the pulse pounding in spite of the looming Third World War supposedly right around the corner. Brosnan was weirdly blank, like some programmed assassin whose smile never reaches his eyes, murdering innocent people who stand in his way of getting the job done, including one unfortunate homosexual gentleman who blunders into an handover of a vital part for the bomb, then thinks his luck is in as Petrofsky asks him to accompany him to his car for some "fun" which turns out to be a slit throat. If this was tough on the gay population, the black population had Caine standing up for them as he beat up two skinheads for racially abusing a woman on the Underground, presumably included to prove this may be a deeply conservative movie, but it wasn't mad racist. Still, some respond to its sedate pace and preference for talk over action. Music by Lalo Schifrin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1753 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: