‘Interceptor' review: Is this action movie any good?

Director: Matthew Reilly 

Cast: Elsa Pataky, Luke Bracey, Aaron Glenane, Mayen Mehta, Rhys Muldoon Genre: Action thriller 

Country/Language: USA, Australia / English 

Duration: 1 hr 32 min 

A new action flick is ranking No. 1 on Netflix India. It is Interceptor, an Australian-American production that has a relatively unheard of cast, barring a random special appearance by Chris Hemsworth (Thor). 

Filmed on a low budget – which is easy to see – it follows Elsa Pataky as Captain J. J. Collins. Captain Collins is a highly respected officer who is assigned to a secluded US missile launch site in the middle of the Pacific. 

The thrills kick off right from the first scene as an unspecified terrorist group invade a nuclear launch site in Alaska. This site is meant for preventing any American warheads launched from anywhere in the world at the last moment. 

Around this time, Collins is on her first day at work at a similar interceptor site. The terrorist faction suddenly storms this site too. The group now has control of both the nuclear missile interceptor sites and aims to cripple America by bombing its major cities. Collins is locked in the control room with her two co-workers – Corporal Rahul and Beaver Baker – with no aid from the White House for at least the next hour. She must fight and keep off the antagonists led by the intimidating Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey) before help arrives. So one can understand the gravity of the situation. 

While its race-against-time plot line sounds gripping on paper, the execution is corny to say the least. The boon that threatens to sink the entire film is the hilariously bad dialogue. For instance, when Collins is fighting in hand-to-hand combat with a large minion, she pauses to comment, “goddammit you’re big”. And continues fighting. It is quite unnecessary and clichéd. So is when a character looks for Collins as she hides and he sings, “Come out,come out wherever you are”. I wonder where I have heard that one before.

And why does Alexander Kessel waste so much time explaining his wicked plans to Collins when he should work and complete said plan instead? The time he wastes chatting with Collins with dramatic explanations only works to his disadvantage and makes us realise that maybe he isn’t so competent at his job. 

There’s also the issue of Collins and Kessel flirting with each other. Two sworn enemies from opposing political views are supposed to fight each other to death for the safety/destruction of America. But instead what we get is less fighting and more… flirting. Maybe the script didn’t mean to portray the two characters that way. But there is no doubt that there is too much chemistry between Pataky and Bracey which can’t be avoided as they stare into each others’ eyes and wear faint smiles while exchanging dialogue like the future of a country isn’t literally in their hands. 

But most frustratingly, even by the end of the movie, we are still unsure of what exactly is the organisation that Alexander is working for. Their motives seem to be all over the place and the people involved in the team seem to have their own motives, often opposing each other. 

The lazy writing also shows itself when a white douchebag character turns out to be – surprise surprise – a vile chauvinist, racist and xenophobe who hates what his homeland has turned into (multicultural). And of course, what better way to characterise him than to give him a heavy Southern redneck accent and the name Beaver Baker. The way he taunts our heroine and threatens to have his way with her is, again, something we have seen a hundred times before, and delivered in the same exact way. 

I can keep going on about the weak, pedestrian screenwriting which causes Interceptor to have the feel of a B movie. The only winning aspect of the picture is Collins’ Me Too-inspired subplot. We see flashbacks where Collins stands up to her sexual predator senior as she takes him to court, only to face backlash and bullying from the rest of the force for speaking up (it is sadly an all-too-relevant issue). 

Another factor which may compel viewers to stick to the screen is – though it is not intended – the utter ridiculousness and humour of it all. The dialogues are so unbelievable that they’ll make you laugh. And the characters storm straight out of a beginner’s textbook.

Interceptor is a disappointing watch that will cause some viewers to regret watching this, while others will have admitted to having a good time watching and picking apart all its parts like a cat with a pigeon. 

Interceptor is now streaming on Netflix.

It currently ranks at #3 in Movies Today.

Also read: Vikram: Most entertainment that you can expect from a masala potboiler

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