Interceptor Review: Explosive Game of Nuclear Cat and Mouse

interceptor review

The terrorists prepared the perfect takeover of the US nuclear defense ‘Interceptor’ base, but they didn’t plan on Elsa Pataky’s Captain JJ Collins

If you are looking for a smart stylish action thriller that will have you talking about the finer points of its story and development long after the credits roll, then keep moving – this is not that movie. ‘Interceptor’ is the latest line of Netflix action films designed to give your weekend movie night a shot of adrenaline. If you are looking for an over-the-top unrealistic bit of escapism that doesn’t go on too long, then this should be right up your street.

An ‘Interceptor’ is a missile defence system designed as an early warning to detect and intercept a nuclear missile before it reaches its target. This makes the film topical right now, with the war in Ukraine raging on, the various threats we receive from President Putin have left some wondering what defence we actually have against such an attack. While I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the system used in the movie, I can say most nuclear capable nations have some variation on this system as a defence against a strike from a terrorist or a rogue nation.

INTERCEPTOR. (L) Elsa Pataky as JJ Collins in INTERCEPTOR. Cr. Brook Rushton/Netflix © 2022

‘Interceptor’ stars Elsa Pataky as Captain JJ Collins, a decorated but troubled officer in the US Navy. The United States have two secret Interceptor vessels, and these are the last line of defence against a Nuclear Strike. The theory is the Vessel has 12mins from the launch of a nuclear strike to intercept and destroy it. After that 12min mark, there is no means to stop the attack. A carefully planned and orchestrated attack sees a band of terrorists led by the charming, charismatic but psychopathic Alexander (Luke Bracey) seize control of 16 nuclear missiles and attempt to take control of the interceptors’ control room so they can freely launch a multi missile strike on the United States mainland.

INTERCEPTOR. (Center) Luke Bracey as Alexander in INTERCEPTOR. Cr. Brook Rushton/Netflix © 2022

Captain Collins was transferred to this base at the last minute so there was no plan in place to deal with her. She proves to be the bane of their plan as they continuously attempt to gain access to the control room without success. This begins an intense game of cat and mouse between Captain Collins and Alexander, each trying to gain a psychological edge over the other, with things swinging back and forth in both their favour. The film moves along at a fairly swift pace without too much time spent on world building or character development.

Elsa Pataky does a great job as the lead in this movie. You may remember her from the fast and furious franchise but here she takes centre stage and does her best to deliver the body blows and one liners with great timing. She got herself in fantastic physical shape and convincingly carried out her action scenes paired with some admirable stunt work. She has good chemistry with Luke Bracey, and they both make good on-screen adversaries.

INTERCEPTOR. (L to R) Sam Hargrave (action consultant), Tim Wong as Zhang (stunt coordinator), with the stunt team of Interceptor. Cr. Brook Rushton/Netflix © 2022

Unfortunately, the film is as silly as you might imagine, the story is just patched together enough to enable the next action scene to take place. The bad guy has a nonsensical reason (daddy issues and capitalism) for wanting to destroy most of the United States. And it’s packed with the most common and lazy action movie tropes. Chris Hemsworth executively produces the movie, (he also happens to be Elsa’s husband) and it’s not really a spoiler to say he makes a small cameo in the film to support his Mrs.

Captain Collins was the victim of sexual assault by a senior officer which led to some serious trauma for her, and we are taken back a few times in flashbacks to give us background into her military past. This was their attempt to flesh out her character a bit more, but it doesn’t tie up that well with the no nonsense kick ass character we are presented with in the main part of the film. Captain Collins was very quick to rip off her top to reveal a white vest and grabs some masking tape to do her best ‘Bruce Willis ‘Die Hard’ homage!

‘Interceptor’ is not a great movie, but does that mean it’s terrible? Not at all, I still found it quite fun and entertaining, much like an 80s action movie. Perfect for a fun but forgettable Friday or Saturday night.

Official Trailer here

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