Spooks: TV Serial gets Hollywood Treatment, in slick action thriller.

But can Spooks: The Greater Good keep a-float in foreign waters?

The film industry often reflects trends, opinions and views of the wider world. Often as stand-alone films, that evolve into movie franchises. During the last 20 years, even TV serials have got in on the act.
The more successful ones like Starsky and HutchStar Trek and Miami Vice have made the celluloid leap. But whilst big-budget, not all are box office hits. The first X-Files movie, Fight the Future (2005) was a resounding success, both for fanatics of the late 90’s show and cinema-goers alike. The second instalment however was a flop, with many feeling none of the show’s patented mythology. In truth though also, it was a second rate thriller.
Now, popular spy drama series Spooks, or ‘MI5’ as it was also known, now has its’ first feature length movie, with the ten-series drama having concluded back in 2011.

Spooks: The Greater Good, picks up where the series ended, only three years later. When a terrorist escapes UK custody, during a routine handover, MI5 are blamed by the CIA for the security breach and Intelligence Chief, Harry Pearce goes rogue.
When decommissioned agent Will Holloway is recruited – once more by the government – to track down Pearce, both he and the disgraced Chief must team together to track down the terrorist and prevent an imminent attack on London.
Peter Firth reprises his role as Pearce and with it brings the warmth and yet stern presence to his role, as he did in the TV series. Holloway is played by Kit Harington of disaster romp, Pompeii (2014), but more widely known as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. Harington is clearly being groomed as a fresh-faced action hero, with the mainstream appeal that he already has, but whether, when the time comes, he can fully leave his character behind and blossom into a movie heart-throb remains to be seen.

As a whole, the movie was a curiosity. As the opening titles rolled, and the iconic 20th Century Fox logo appeared, you knew that this was going to be an altogether more glamorous journey than in the series – just as it should be. But moreover, the glossy sheen of a major Hollywood studio was evident throughout.
Also, without wanting to be too cliché and stereotypical of the genre, Spooks played out rather like the Bourne series, as the story moved across mainland Europe, with more than a few twists for good measure. This however, is merely testament to the movie’s superior quality.

The question for non-Spooks fans, is how does this stand as a one-time action thriller? The answer is fairly well.  For its’ rather tricky and delicate subject content – as far as box office revenue goes – Spooks holds itself well amongst the more generalized but demanding cinema fraternity.
The pace and feel of the movie is very well maintained and also shot, considering its’ predisposed status as a television serial. The narrative plays out as well as any standard twist-laden feature, with the final payoff satisfying, if not slightly mimicked. The memories of a certain hugely popular eight season FOX thriller will immediately spring to mind, for those that have watched it.

Aside from minor quibbles though. This operates as an entertaining and above average spy thriller. The lesser well known faces add an element of the enigmatic and a certain vibrancy to proceedings. The appearances of veterans Tim McInnis, Jennifer Ehle and Firth, play the balancing act well.
In summary, Spooks: The Greater Good is an enjoyable ride, with perhaps less emphasis on the big-budget spectacular and more the post-production. Spooks maintains its’ original appeal, but furthermore adds another string to the bow, as a stand-alone movie rather than merely a TV add-on, for which it should be commended.      

Words and thoughts of Neil Leverett.