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The Fourth Protocol
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The Fourth Protocol More at IMDbPro »

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43 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Well done and realistic spy thriller!

Author: Rayvyn from Oakland, CA USA
8 July 2002

Usually we get treated to one type of spy movie these days. This type is made up of good looking young agents with all sorts of high tech weapons and gear. There are beautiful women who are just lining up to sleep with the good guy. The Fourth Protocol is not one of these movies and thank goodness! It is one of the most realistic cold war spy movies out there. Despite it's age(1987) it is relevant to today's world. There is nuclear terrorism and real looking spies. Michael Cain plays a British agent and is too busy looking for Russian spies to be sexing up fine Russian female agents. In fact he has a family. He is excellent as the seasoned agent who uses his mind and not gadgets to track down the Russian spy played by Pierce Brosnan. For those of you who saw Brosnan in Tailor of Panama and found it refreshing to see him play a creep secret agent will be in for a real treat in The Fourth Protocol. Brosnan plays Petrofsky, a young hot shot KGB agent who tries to slice and dice his way to the top. I mean Petrofsky is a flat out cold blooded killer. He makes the guy in Tailor of Panama look like a saint. He has a conscience but he doesn't let it get in the way of his mission to explode a nuclear weapon on a US Air Force base in Great Britain in order to make it look like the US had a nuclear accident. Petrofsky was the right man for the job he would blow up two or three thousand people just like that. If he wasn't a KGB agent, he could surely find work as a serial killer.

The story moves along quickly and sometimes a bit too quickly. However it doesn't detract from the movie. The movie looks more like a cop movie in the way the investigation unfolds. When they finally find out what's going on there is a good action sequence that doesn't go over the top. It just serves the purpose in this movie. Other things I liked was the scene where they constructed the bomb.

I would recommend this one to anyone who likes spy movies and are tired of the James Bond rigmarole.


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31 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

absorbing thriller

Author: hbs from United States
27 July 1999

I was quite surprised to see that this movie got a 5.9 rating. I think that it's a lot better than that. Brosnan is good, the plot is sufficiently tricky to be interesting, and Caine delivers the kind of reliable, excellent performance that you can count on (at least when the movie isn't total junk -- he only seems to phone it in when the movie is entirely hopeless). The ending is a little abrupt, but I can't find any fault with it other than that. (The cast is uniformly strong, too.) Maybe people underrate the movie because the movie is low-budget. It looks like a British TV-movie, and maybe it was, but I find it easy to get past the production values when the acting is good.

I've seen it twice, and it holds up to a second viewing.

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33 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Better than I expected

Author: Wainscoat from Holland
21 February 2003

The Fourth Protocol is a smart spy action/thriller flick based on a Frederick Forsyth novel. The film has a dark atmosphere and is just interesting enough. It's not the type film for a big audience because there are certainly many people who won't like this movie at all. Why? The one and only reason is because there is not a lot action in it. But the true film-fan will definitely enjoy this movie.

Michael Caine's character; John Preston, makes the story more interesting. Pierce Brosnan is very convincing as the Russian spy, maybe it's because he plays a typical 'James Bond role'.

This film can be described as a dark, smart and thrilling spy flick which has it's problems but certainly is worth to watch.

RATING: 7/10

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29 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

great film

Author: bobstruckyard from United Kingdom
2 June 2005

some comments on this film have stated that there are unnecessary killings of agents or witnesses, this is done to show the politics of the film and how there must be no trace back to those who planned the operation, whilst also portraying that petrofsky is a lethal killer, and as Caine says in the film "the best". A great story, and very believable, spies that remain hidden from each other and no excruciating scene where the bad guy reveals his plot to the good guy. Would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the operation had turned out differently, or the ending for that matter!

Of course one of the best things about this film is the acting as previously stated by other people. Caine brings his character to life and is very believable in the role of John Preston, the agent who cares, and will "bend" the rules to make sure things get down. Brosnan is similarly good, his character will stop at nothing to complete his mission, he is a stone cold killer and this is portrayed well, he doesn't let anything get in the way of the mission.

All in all a very good little film, much better than some of the tripe we get from Hollywood and with one of the finest British casts i've seen in some time.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A guilty pleasure.

Author: Jason from Norfolk, England
6 September 2003

I wouldn't consider this movie a "classic" or even particularly "great", but for some reason I really enjoy watching this film. I haven't read the book, however I used to own "The Fourth Protocol" computer game for the Commodore 64, and was vaguely familiar with the basic storyline.

I can't pinpoint what exactly it is I like about this movie, but I did enjoy seeing Michael Caine as a British agent tracking down the nuclear bomb. I could probably watch a whole series of films based around his character. I also liked some of the other characters and I think it had a good cast of actors. The workings of government agents was very compelling to watch, but it was good to see that the film wasn't overwhelmed by ridiculous gadgets and stuck to the drama involved.

The 80's technology in the film also had an element of nostalgia about it. This film reminds me of a bygone age of the BBC Micro and Ford transit vans. In fact, I love watching the film just to see the various parts of England as well.

I liked the fact that its a rather 'quiet' movie, but I do think it needed to be re-edited. Some parts of the film just skimmed through major plot developments without giving them time to breath, and other times the film would show a character hopping from various locations in England without giving a sense of the travelling in between. Watching this film would give the impression that England is only about 10 miles wide! Some elements of the film really needed to be fleshed out a bit more.

This isn't the sort of movie I would go to a cinema to see, its more of a "Friday night in" movie that I would watch on TV. I would only recommend it to someone if they were die-hard fans of this genre.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Competently made and acted Cold War thriller, but terribly familiar.

Author: Jonathon Dabell ( from Todmorden, England
2 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frederick Forsyth's bestselling novel is here brought to the big screen with an all-star cast, but despite occasional moments of excitement it is not a film that genuinely gets the blood pumping. While the intricate build-up of detail and suspense made the book absorbing, in the film it merely creates a cold, dry and rather plodding atmosphere. The film has an old-hat feel to it, for it pursues a storyline that has been done to death over the years. If you think about it, we've seen stories like this countless times: Rod Steiger plotting to blow up Parliament in "Hennessy"; Edward Fox plotting to assassinate De Gaulle in "Day Of The Jackal"; Bruce Dern planning a terrorist attack on the Superbowl in "Black Sunday"; Steven Berkoff wanting to decimate an American air base with an atomic bomb in "Octopussy". This time, in "The Fourth Protocol", it is the turn of Pierce Brosnan to carry out yet another despicable plan against the civilised world. Genre addicts will probably enjoy the film, but for the majority of us it's a tired case of more of the same.

Secret agent John Preston (Michael Caine) leads a raid on the apartment of an idealistic government bureaucrat, George Berenson (Anton Rogers). In Berenson's safe, Preston discovers some top-secret documents containing sensitive information about NATO activities in Britain. When confronted, Berenson claims that he has been passing the information on to a South African contact, but to his horror his South African "contact" turns out to be a Russian spy who has been forwarding the information to Moscow. As high-ranking Secret Service official Sir Nigel Irvine (Ian Richardson) tells Berenson: "you've undermined NATO.... perhaps irretrievably". Meanwhile, in snowbound Russia, deadly and highly decorated soldier Major Valeri Petrofsky (Pierce Brosnan) is briefed to carry out an audacious mission that could bring NATO to its knees. Petrofsky comes to Britain posing as a hard-working, unmarried model citizen and promptly buys a house that backs onto an American air base. Gradually he sets into motion his chilling plan, which involves triggering a nuclear explosion from his house, disguising his act to appear like a terrible accident that occurred at the base, thus strengthening the calls for NATO to be disbanded. Preston races against the clock to stop Petrofsky before his deplorable plan becomes a devastating reality.

The cast perform decently enough, though there seems to be a certain degree of indifference, or perhaps unenthusiasm, from some of the stars. Ian Richardson probably has the best of it (he has a suggestive, sinister tone of voice and shifty eyes that make him perfect for these cloak-and-dagger roles), while Caine makes an amiable enough hero and Brosnan a fairly believable villain. Others fare slightly worse, like Ned Beatty as a Russian official with an over-prominent American accent, and Julian Glover as a bad-tempered Secret Service bigwig whose attempts to evoke anger would barely trouble a child, let alone his adult colleagues. John Mackenzie directs adequately but unremarkably, allowing the jigsaw pieces of plot to slot into place in a by-the-numbers fashion. The very concept of a nuclear strike within Britain is quite disturbing and exciting on its own terms, but the film never really sets the pulse fluttering. Some might argue that this kind of low-key, realistic approach provides a worthwhile contrast to the extravagance and excesses of a James Bond movie, and they'd have a point, but there's something just a little too mechanical and familiar about "The Fourth Protocol" for my liking.

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

The usual Caine, the better Brosnan

Author: rakesh_prem
15 February 2002

Forget Brosnan's performance in the Bond movies or the recent excellent Tailor of Panama. His cold, calculative KGB agent in The Fourth Protocol should have told us what a wonderful actor he is. Made in 1987, the film is closer to its older brother (The Days of Jackal, also by Frederick Forsyth) than the spy films starring Michael Caine, as I originally thought it would be. The pace is slow, but thoughtful. Like Jackal, we get to see Brosnan making preparation to bring in the bomb and piecing it together. We also get to see Caine, 'the rebel' of M16 tracking him down. Great show!

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17 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Good But Predictable

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
19 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frederick Forsyth is one of the greatest thriller writers to have picked up a pen with THE DEVIL`S ALTERNATIVE probably his best book concerning Ukrainian dissidents , a hijacked supertanker , a Kremlin power struggle and a hero who`s a middle aged Scotsman . Sean Connery would have been perfect but many Forsyth novels probably wouldn`t make good movies since the plots are complex and there`s often a myriad of characters with long back stories , information overload on how the KGB operate etc . THE FOURTH PROTOCOL unlike THE DEVIL`S ALTERNATIVE has a fairly simplistic plot which makes it an ideal story to be adapated into a screenplay but there`s a drawback - The story is predictable


THE FOURTH PROTOCOL centres around a nasty Soviet plot to win the cold war by exploding an atomic bomb at an American base making it look like an accident caused by the Americans leading to unilateral nuclear disarmament and the break up of NATO leaving those dastardly commies to invade Europe . The plot had actually been used before in the James Bond movie OCTOPUSSY and in many ways this does feel like a mind bending spy movie with Harry Palmer ( Michael Caine ) taking on communist traitor James Bond ( Peirce Brosnan ) , bizarre to say the least but as strange as it seems it is somewhat compelling , even though the climax is very predictable with the good guy trying to stop the bad guy detonating the bomb

There are a few problems with the screenplay though . We have several scenes that don`t really add anything to the plot like the scene where Caine`s character smacks a couple of skin heads . Very admirable though it adds nothing to either plot or character development since we know he`s already a good guy , no need to prove it . I also couldn`t help noticing a rather ridiculous scene where the baddie decides to cut the throat of a possible witness , wouldn`t this draw attention to himself ? Wouldn`t the victim`s blood splatter all over his clothes ? And why would the witness need to be killed ? It`s not like he`s going to run to police and say " I tried to get off with a man in the gents toilets and I saw him recieve a radio from an airline pilot . He must be a KGB agent or something "

Like most Forsyth stories there`s a lot of characters ( Maybe too many ) and they`re played by familiar British character actors but few of them make an impact with the exception of Ian Richardson and Anton Rodgers who both appear in the best scene of the movie where an intelligence chief confronts a traitor . If you think acting is a doddle think how you`d react if a director said to you " Okay , you play a dogmatic patriot , you`d do anything to stop the world being over run by communist tyranny and you`ve done your level best to stop this happening . But then this character has found you out and worse he`s just told you that you`ve been helping these nasty evil reds all along " how would you play the scene ? Richardson and Rodgers are superb in this scene even if it doesn`t really have anything to do with the main plot

A fairly good thriller even if it`s not tightly plotted and you know where it`s heading

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Aged Well - Like Vintage Port

Author: graestella from United Kingdom
27 September 2008

I hadn't seen this for ages. Then it was given away free with the Daily Mail.It really has aged well. The plot is still believable. Just substitute Islamic terrorists for Russian ones. Caine was brilliant and doing his 'laser' style acting in all the close ups. Something he doesn't bother with in his many pot boilers. I have to agree with some of the other posters. It really should have been promoted as Harry Palmer's midlife crisis. He would have developed just like this. The hero in the book reads like an ex-Para version of Freddie Forsythe. Caine makes the role his own and adds his own interpretation. Another of my favourites Pierce Brosnan acts his heart out too, as the stone killer Petrofsky. The Ian Richardson and Anton Rogers scene has to be a career best for both of them. Only a side plot but absolutely brilliant.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of Caines best films to this point

Author: Garry Cane from Switzerland
2 October 2003

My personal view is that Caines interpretation of the character made TFP one of his best films to date, it reflected the Forsythes hero very acurately and was easily the best performance of the film. Again, my view is that the film was grossly under rated by the critics at the time and even today stands up well among films of this type. Well worth watching even today.

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