June 3, 2022 / Netflix
Starring: Elsa Pataky, Luke Bracey,Aaron Glenane
Directed By: Matthew Reilly
One Army captain must use her years of tactical training and military expertise when a simultaneous coordinated attack threatens the remote missile interceptor station she is in command of.
Written By Darren
Rating 2.5 out of 5
Interceptor unfortunately misses the mark on too many points to be a good kickass female led action thriller, but has some very strong aspects that make it worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre.
Action thrillers have been on a comeback since the success of John Wick, spawning many films such as Atomic Blonde, Gunpowder Milkshake, and Extraction to name a few. And Interceptor is the latest film in the subgenre, but it fails to capture the spark that made these other films hits.
The film follows JJ, portrayed by Elsa Pataky, an army captain defending a missile interceptor station from a group of terrorists trying to take control of it in order to wipe out the United States with nuclear missiles. The setup for the story is simple, but for this type of film, you do not need an elaborate plot. You need just enough story to generate great action sequences and keep the film moving, which this plot has. Unfortunately, the plot is hindered by a truly atrocious script full of corny one liners which don’t match the tone of the film and forcing in social issues that do not need to be present.
With a female lead character, the writers have forced in sexual abuse towards women in the army, but it never feels natural. The writing is so focused on this aspect of JJ’s character, that it forgets to create a fully developed human character as she is defined by her past trauma and not by her personality or accomplishments. It’s a trap that too many films fall into, and it sets this film up for failure. Also, instead of having our JJ tell her own story, we are forced to listen to the male characters mansplain her trauma which was infuriating and extinguished. It’s such lazy writing that hinders JJ’s character development, making her feel more like a plot point than a fully realized character.
Given the mediocre writing, Pataky is given very little material to work with, muting her personality in her performance. Pataky merely works with the writing she is given, but does little to elevate her performance and character beyond the script and story. Which is too bad as I have really enjoyed Pataky in previous roles, mainly the Fast and Furious franchise. Though, she does shine in the action sequences. With Sam Hargrave, famed stunt coordinator and director of Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth, as the action consultant for the film, the action scenes are great. They capture the intensity that fans expect from the genre, and it’s these sequences that make the film an entertaining watch. Pataky is a true action star, and she does a wonderful job in these sequences. With Hargrave’s vision for the action, these scenes burst with energy and excitement, creating one of the more memorable aspects of the film. Even with some of the most awful CGI I have seen in recent memory. While this is a lower budget film, there is not much of an excuse for such poor CGI as it was laughable. It truly distracted from the story and the action as some of the most exciting sequences were done on a green screen backdrop, which did not do any favours for this film that already struggles to create an engaging story.
While the majority of the script and performances are mediocre at best, the film does have one surprisingly incredible performance: Luke Bracey as the film’s villain Alexander. From the second Bracey unleashes his plan on the station, he is excellent and steals the entire film. Mixing charm, charisma and a deadly intensity, Bracey creates a truly outstanding villain that alone is worth checking out the film for. It truly felt like Bracey belonged in a much better film, as he was heads and shoulders above the rest of the film. His villain is just outstanding, chewing up every scene with a sinister undertone that is truly frightening, mixing in his privileged past that is the one aspect of the film where the film creates the social commentary it strove to dissect. It’s like his character was written by someone different then the rest of the film, as he comes off as Shakespearan compared to the rest of the film which feels like a straight to home video debacle. Needless to say, I will be watching all of Bracey’s future films, because anyone who can turn this terrible script into a scene stealing performance is a phenomenal actor!
It is clear that this was an effort by Pataky, Hargrvae and Pataky’s husband Chris Hemsworth to create an exciting action thriller for Pataky, which is more likely part of a larger overall deal with Netflix. It misses the mark on so many levels, but Hemsworth is literally there cheering his wife along in a hilarious cameo which ends up being the gift that keeps on giving in this film.
You can see the good intentions that the entire cast and crew had in making this film. They wanted to create an entertaining action film for a female lead which spoke to the issues that women face in the military. While it fails to create the character that both this film and Elsa Pataky deserve, it does succeed in creating entertaining action sequences. It’s hard to recommend this film while scrolling through your Netflix, but if you're a die hard action fan you may enjoy the film for the action it has to offer. Despite being frustrating on many levels as it squanders its potential to be a great female led action film, Luke Bracey is absolutely phenomenal as the film’s villain which saves Interceptor from being an absolute trainwreck.