Movie Review: Interceptor – SLUG Magazine
Director: Matthew Reilly
Ambiance Entertainment and Foryor Entertainment
Broadcast on Netflix: 06.03
The 1988 action hit die hard changed the game so much that it literally created its own subgenre, with one of the most famous imitators being Under Siege. The good news of the Netflix thriller Interceptor is that if he certainly owes something to Under Siegeit does not start Steven Segal. The bad news is that Interceptor is almost enough to make it miss.
Interceptor stars Elsa Pataki (the fast furious franchise) as Captain JJ Collins, an experienced soldier with a complex past. Collins is assigned to a nuclear missile interceptor base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and she arrives there just before a terrorist attack. A Russian missile silo was successfully hijacked, along with the only other interception site. Alexander Kessel (Luc Bracey, November man, Holidays), a former military officer turned mercenary, tries to take control of the Pacific base to carry out an unthinkable, nefarious and utterly insane plan to launch a missile strike against the United States. Captain Collins is the only chance anyone has, and she has to think fast, stand tall, and navigate her way through the trauma of an embarrassing and awkward #metoo subplot.
Interceptor is a poorly executed and ridiculously corny attempt to make die hard Passing by Crimson Tide. First-time director Matthew Reilly is a techno thriller novelist who managed to make a movie with a screenplay co-written by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Collateral), who also produced the film. The problem is that when you read one of Reilly’s novels, you can picture the movie in your head made with a certain sense of style and finesse and certainly with more impressive production values. Interceptor goes for the feel of a 90s blockbuster, but looks like a two-parter episode of POINT and at worst like a daytime soap opera.
The film is largely confined to two or three rooms in the sound studio – uh, I mean “base” – with some thrilling exterior action sequences that probably took up the majority of the modest budget. Pataky has some potential but would struggle to muster the screen presence to fully succeed as a lead, even with a director who knew anything about acting. The subplot involving Collins’ career tainted by retaliation for reporting a senior officer’s sexual harassment is too serious for such a lifeless cartoon and far too hokey in execution to be dramatic.
Bracey is a nice enough actor and does slightly better than Pataky, but his main character is so poorly written that it would be an overstatement to call him good. The best — and worst — performance in Interceptor comes from an intrusive and extended cameo from the executive producer Chris Hemsworth, Patasky’s real husband. Hemsworth plays an anonymous television salesman who begins encouraging Collins when Kessel begins live-streaming his shenanigans. Hemsworth, with long hair and a beard – dyed brown to not look like Thor – and the same pair of glasses he wore ghost hunters, simply watches TV and occasionally comments on it as if watching a sporting event. And even, Interceptor has so few benefits that rather than making it a one-scene appearance, Reilly actually feels the need to repeatedly walk away from the military installation that has been hijacked by a madman who is being fought off by a stubborn shero so we can see more of the tv salesman. If that’s not a red flag that your movie isn’t working, I don’t know what is.
Inceptor is a sloppy waste of time that seems more suited to second-hand dealers like Saban Films than Netflix. Even with Hemsworth bringing Sam Hargravethe director of Extraction and a veteran stunt coordinator, to try to liven up and smooth out the action, the fight scenes are theatrical and hesitant to the point of invoking William Shatner fight the Gorn on the original StarTrek. There’s only one sequence that borders on exciting, and it’s spoiled in the trailers. Hemsworth earns 20 home points for Australia for being a good husband but loses 30 for being a poor producer. There are far more worthy ways to waste your time and brain cells than Interceptor and too many superior steaming options to be worth giving a chance. I’ve seen better movies about teeth. –Patrick Gibbs
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