Interceptor (2022) Review!!

Synopsis – An adaptation of the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical. Matilda tells the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, dares to take a stand to change her story with miraculous results.

My Take – I think we all know by now how unreliable Netflix‘s category of original films are. While they continue to back a steady flow of Oscar baits and starry hit or miss blockbusters, the steaming giant still continues to roll out a steady flow of low quality films that allows us to have a few chuckles, especially due to some terrible elements, before promptly allowing us to forget the film ever existed.

Their lasted action thriller helmed by Australian novelist turned first-time writer-director Matthew Reilly and co-written by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Collateral) with its strange blend of woke and patriotic clichés, is ONE of those films.

Led by Elsa Patakay, best known for playing a supporting role in three Fast & Furious films, and harkening back to the film of 80s and 90s with all the necessary elements like silly improbable story, bad acting, poor American accents and some questionable special effects, the Australian production is an extremely cheesy variant of Die Hard (1988), just in the Pacific Ocean, and with just about every action-film cliché thrown in. However, the film is still fun to watch, more so than some Netflix IP or big budget buy outs.

Containing some decent fight choreography, non-stop engagement and some commendably creative kills, this absurd ticking time-bomb thriller is an entertaining and snappily paced offering that does the job of being a mindless Netflix offering. You’ll just have to ignore the fact that, objectively, it’s really not a very good film. And the fact that Patakay‘s husband Chris Hemsworth (also executive producer) hilariously hams it up in a cameo is testament to that.

The story follows Captain J.J. Collins (Elsa Pataky), who finds herself being re-stationed at one of two interceptor bases for the U.S. Army. These interceptor bases are the last line of defense in the event of a nuclear strike from Russia or any enemy state across the Pacific Ocean. But after facing sexual harassment and the full brunt of a patriarchal backlash for standing up for herself, Collins finds herself demoted to her previously held post.

But just as she arrives, a coordinated attack, first on Russia’s missile bases, then on their base led by Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey), a psychopathic former intelligence officer, begins. With an aim to launch sixteen missiles on sixteen U.S. cities. Leaving Collins to become the only person left to save the United States and maybe the world.

For a run time of 92 minutes, first-time director Matthew Reilly does an adequate job at keeping things ticking along without ever edging his film into something more than it is or really needs to be, utterly defieng reasonable explanation. He checks all the boxes in terms of making an action film that will grab the audience’s attention, have one root for the hero, and an impossible mission on hand. But clunky dialogue and questionable performances are somewhat papered over by both the film’s contagious enthusiasm and laudable ambition.

While the film earns some points for trying to put a more progressive, modern spin on the outright retrogressive ideas often found in such schlocky action flicks, there’s a weird and ultimately ineffective way in which the film attempts to play both sides and loses its footing when it comes to unveiling the motivations of the villainous Alexander. In a roundabout way, the film plays with the idea that he is like many a Bond villain, motivated by money but loudly and pompously preaches some higher-than-thou belief that the world would be better off with millions of people dead.

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.

It’s immediately clear that the film belongs in the 90s action genre. But it did needed to be coherent. Instead, the film takes on a weird military propaganda streak that doesn’t know what it’s doing but double downs at every turn.

But by the time this climax rolls around though, you’re clearly already invested in the film’s nonsense that you’ll go along with it. By general standards, the action too is better than most, but it’s still heavily edited to mask either the poor choreography or a misguided attempt to capitalize on the fast-paced, breathless actioner it wants to be.

Performance wise, Elsa Pataky, a veteran of the Fast and Furious franchise, sells the action scenes with a fierce commitment that cannot be ignored. She is confident and bold but, struggles to hold her own when she’s required to tap into some sappy melodrama. Luke Bracey entertainingly hams it up but manages to never cross the line to absurdity. While Aaron Glenane and Mayen Mehta do what they can with whatever is given. As expected, her husband Chris Hemsworth is hilarious in a pointless cameo. On the whole, ‘Interceptor’ is a ridiculous throwback-action flick that is somewhat entertaining, silly & wonky.

Directed –

Starring – Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch, Andrea Riseborough

Rated – 99 minutes

Run Time – R

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