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‘Interceptor’ review: Way more serious than it should be

Elsa Pataky leads Netflix’s latest actioner that should be more fun with its brawn, but really isn’t.

With more original content heading our way onto streaming services, there is also the worry that these services could be the home of some litter, or in Netflix’s case, films made with the quality similar to straight-to-video fodder. Certainly, with Chris Hemsworth, when he’s not being Marvel’s God of Thunder, he is the modern equivalent to the musclebound action stars in the ‘80s like Schwarzenegger or Stallone, in which he can dish out movies like Extraction. With Hemsworth as executive producer, Netflix’s latest headlines his real-life partner Elsa Pataky as an action heroine. 

In the movie Interceptor, Pataky plays Captain J.J. Collins, who finds herself in charge of a lone nuclear missile interceptor base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after she is wrongfully drummed out of her dream job at the Pentagon. When a simultaneous coordinated attack threatens the station and the whole of America, it is up to J.J. to use her years of tactical training and military expertise to save the day. 

Known for being a novelist on action thrillers, Matthew Reilly, who collaborated with screenwriter Stuart Beattie, makes his directorial debut with Interceptor. The film uses one large set – the titular base as where all the drama and conflict takes place. Obvious comparisons like Die Hard will always be evoked, but Interceptor feels more in line with the American actioners like Olympus Has Fallen, where the absurdity is cranked, despite being weirdly cheap, and yet the tone is way more serious than it should be. 

To give the film credit, it does try to be progressive as despite its identity of a typical American action film, our heroine is Spanish, accompanied by a fellow soldier of Hindu descent, both of which are battling villains who are supposedly fighting for America to be narrowly patriotic, even if their plan is to simply blow it up. With a running time of over ninety minutes, the film is badly paced with the inclusion of flashbacks that showcase J.J.’s backstory, where she is a victim of sexual abuse and is punished for simply being a woman in the military. Reilly is trying to say something, but it’s a shame that the film has trapped by its genre conventions, whilst having a script that is woodenly written. 

Having previously done action when previously starring in some Fast & Furious movies, Elsa Pataky has the physical capability to be a no-nonsense soldier to kick all the men’s asses, and yet she struggles with the macho one-liners that could have been lifted from the eighties. In fact, all the actors struggle with this issue and despite their physical commitment, the action itself feels uninspired, largely coming down to how cheap the filmmaking is. The only sense of fun you can have towards this film is a comical appearance from Chris Hemsworth, who is acting like he is in a different and better film.

‘Interceptor’ review: Way more serious than it should be
You can still enjoy the cheesiness of 80s action movies, but once modern movies like Interceptor try to replicate that feeling, it fails rather spectacularly.
Reader Rating0 Votes
One fun appearance from a certain God of Thunder that steals the show in his own little movie.
Despite the physical commitment of its cast, led by Elsa Pataky, they struggle with the wooden dialogue.
The action looks cheap and uninspired, from a first-time director who had previous written action-driven literature.
Takes itself with too seriously by trying tackle serious subject matter, despite its priorities as a goofy action B-movie.

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