Directed by: Matthew Reilly
Premise: A soldier (Elsa Pataky) is assigned to an isolated military station that defends the United States against nuclear attacks. A group of terrorists overrun the base and it is up to a lone soldier to save the day.
What Works: After the release of Die Hard in 1988 the next decade of action movies followed a similar pattern in which a lone hero faced a group of terrorists and saved hostages. A few of these films did the formula well, namely Speed, The Rock, and Cliffhanger, but frequently these movies were a hollow imitation of what Die Hard had done so well. The 2022 film Interceptor is a throwback to that kind of moviemaking. It’s not good but for viewers who enjoy a certain kind of bad action cinema, the sort of movie that plays as filler on daytime cable television, Interceptor may hit the spot.
What Doesn’t: Even allowing that this isn’t intended to be great cinema, Interceptor is still lousy and lazy filmmaking. The film simply looks terrible. The establishing shots of the missile station are rendered with cheap looking digital effects. The action is staged poorly. There’s little sense of drama in the camerawork. The fights are staged and shot in ways that make the action less exciting. It may be redundant to bag on this film for being cliché; it’s trying to recreate a certain kind of story and adheres to the formula. But that’s no excuse for the narrative being so incoherent. The terrorist plot doesn’t make any sense. The villains have taken control of Russian nuclear launch sites and their goal is to stop the American missile base from launching countermeasures. The hero barricades herself in the control room and the terrorists try to find a way in. But the villains don’t need to get into the control room to accomplish their goals. All they want is to stop the American missiles from launching and they could easily destroy or cripple them. The motives of the terrorists are also incoherent. The lead villain, played by Luke Bracey, gets a few big speeches but they don’t amount to anything. The film also distastefully invokes the real issue of sexual harassment and assault in the United States’ military. This is intended to deepen the protagonist but it just cheapens a serious issue. The abuse theme is worsened by the casting of Elsa Pataky in the lead role. She’s terrible even in the macho action hero moments and she’s utterly ill equipped to deal with the themes of trauma. Nobody else is good in this either but the actors are saddled with terrible, exposition-heavy dialogue. In Bond villain fashion, Bracy’ character spells out the terrorist plan for no reason whatsoever.
DVD extras: Available on Netflix.
Bottom Line: Interceptor is a sloppy imitation of better movies. This is low rent action filler but it isn’t nearly as fun as it should be.
Episode: #905 (June 12, 2022)