REVIEW: ‘Interceptor’ Belongs in the 90s

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Interceptor - But Why Tho

When I saw the trailer for Netflix Original Interceptor, I thought to myself, “I’m down with Die Hard in the ocean with Jane McClain.” And maybe that was too high a bar to hit for a film that looks like the 90s, and all of its faults. The film is directed by Matthew Reilly and written by Matthew Reilly & Stuart Beattie. It stars, Elsa Pataky, Luke Bracey, Aaron Glenane, and Mayen Mehta.

The tough and reality-bruised Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky) 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 then threatens the base itself, Collins comes face-to-face with the charismatic yet crooked Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey), a former US military intelligence officer intent on carrying out an unthinkable plan. With only minutes on the clock, Collins must utilize her years of tactical training and military expertise to determine who she can trust and stop Kessel and his covert mercenaries from completing their twisted and terrible mission.

Let’s just jump into it. I have no idea what Interceptor’s message is.  It’s obviously toying with the question: How can you fight for people who don’t care about you? But the way it gets around that is a push towards “always serve the United State Army regardless of injustices done to you”. The film uses sexism, misogyny, and xenophobia like a launching pad and does this without nuance or any conversation outside of “watch JJ be sexually harassed repeatedly” in flashbacks and still choose America.

The lead villain wants to bring down the United States because his father and he are privileged and proof hard work isn’t what pays, family lineage is. But instead of recognizing that the baddie Alexander Kessel is making points, JJ doesn’t actually confront why she chooses to protect people who didn’t protect her, money gets thrown as the root of all evil and the reason to throw out and of Kessel’s points.

Interceptor’s story didn’t have to be good, I mean, it’s immediately clear that the film belongs in the 90s action genre. But it did need to be coherent. Instead, Interceptor takes on a weird military propaganda streak that doesn’t know what it’s doing but double downs at every turn. This is due in large part to the lack of action in the film. Yes, we get to see JJ fighting in the film, and Pataky is a solid action star with the arms to boot, but a large section of the narrative is just JJ and Kessel exchanging insults and plans through a blast door. It’s slow and that slowness makes the film’s attempt at reasoning and messaging turn on itself and stand out as something incoherently bad. Throw in some badly acted and heavy-handed flashbacks and the film’s biggest mistake is trying to build emotional weight, instead of just going full-throttle on the action.

For their parts as our lead protagonist and antagonist, Else Pataky and Luke Bracey are fun. On their own, they work, and together, I really wish they had been given better dialogue to take advantage of the antagonistic chemistry. The three points I’m giving this film are for them alone, because they make a fun core of a film that has no idea what its point is.

Overall, Interceptor belongs in the 90s but not in the pile of 90s action that makes you nostalgic. Instead, Interceptor is all of the worst things about 90s action. Its story is an incoherent attempt at storytelling and the action itself is anywhere it needs to be to make it a solid popcorn flick. While I was all in on the film when I saw the trailer, this is one I can only recommend that you watch if you’re looking for some tongue-in-cheek action.

Interceptor is streaming exclusively on Netflix June 3, 2022.


Interceptor
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    Rating - 4/10
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TL;DR

Interceptor belongs in the 90s but not in the pile of 90s action that makes you nostalgic. Instead, Interceptor is all of the worst things about that decade’s films. Its story is an incoherent attempt at storytelling and the action itself is anywhere it needs to be to make it a solid popcorn flick. While I was all in on the film when I saw the trailer, this is one I can only recommend that you watch if you’re looking for some tongue-in-cheek action.