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Spooks: The Greater Good Review


Like a sniper shot you never saw coming, Spooks: The Greater Good arrives in cinemas this weekend, four years after the BBC show finished its tenth series on television. It was one of those spy dramas that, what it lacked in 24’s frenetic stylings, made up for in good honest intelligence work. It was less flashy, less shouty and all the more realistic for it.

As befalls any TV show when it tries to supersize itself to the cinema screen (not even 24 managed it in the end) the larger canvas needs a larger story and a much larger budget. Every cinematic spy thriller over the last decade, namely the Bond and Bourne movies have three things, a killer lead, lots of great action set pieces and globetrotting locations.

In measuring up, Spooks scores only the first with Kit Harington certainly bringing his leading man brooding looks and locks (with his Game of Thrones’ John Snow do) to his spy. It’s good to see him throw off the heavy furs and black garb for a gun, an ear piece and mission to test his brains and brawn. The TV show had quite the list of hotshot agents over the years (including Richard Armitage and Matthew MacFadyen) and Harington slots in very well. You’d be happy to see him reprise the role every week on your TV screens. 

Sadly the film is let down by the scale when it comes to action and location. A constricted budget is obvious and the film would be elevated by higher stakes in the action department. It’s screaming out for a nerve-shredding car chase around London or two, while the city itself appears dull and grey. 
Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) returns as the wilful and resourceful Head of Counter-Terrorism and is the anchor around which Harrington’s spy gets to grease the wheels of the action. When a key terror suspect Adem Qasim (Elyes Gabel), escapes custody, Harry is blamed and suspecting high ranking officials within the British government of treason, he goes on the run enlisting Harington’s decommissioned agent to help him uncover the truth and re-capture Qasim.

For audiences not familiar with the TV show, they will have little investment in Harry’s story and just what’s at stake. There are references to past characters with no relevance to new audiences and so it rests squarely on Harington’s shoulders to pull it off as a standalone movie.

For fans of Spooks, it’s an enjoyable couple of hours but perhaps a tv special would have been a better fit. As 24’s Jack Bauer would say…’Damn it!’

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The Movie Bit: Spooks: The Greater Good Review
Spooks: The Greater Good Review
The Movie Bit
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