Director: Matthew Reilly
Screenwriters: Stuart Beattie and Matthew Reilly
Starring: Elsa Pataky, Luke Bracey, Aaron Glenane, Mayen Mehta, Rhys Muldoon, Belinda Jombwe, Marcus Johnson, Colin Friels, and Zoe Carides
Cinematographer: Ross Emery
How to Watch: Netflix starting on Friday, June 3, 2022
Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky) of the US Army finds herself in a dire situation at a nuclear missile receptor base when a coordinated attack threatens to wipe out major American cities. With just minutes to save the US, Collins must use her military training and quick decision-making to protect the country that once gave up on her. The problem with that is Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey), the mind behind the operation, makes some valid (albeit twisted) points of why America deserves its reset.
In Matthew Reilly’s single location story Interceptor, heavy stakes, over-the-top fight sequences, and non-stop action are at the forefront. But underneath this adrenaline-fueled call-back to 80s military action films lies a story about a strong woman who puts aside her personal feelings to save her country. The military ‘agenda’ is in-your-face, sure; but there’s no denying the easy entertainment this would provide viewers and fans of Netflix’s catalog on a slow Friday night.
As the film progresses, we learn more about our two leads. Elsa’s Captain JJ Collins is a fierce and resilient fighter in both her job and her personal life. After reporting on a “situation” to the miliary, JJ found herself scandalized, outcasted, then demoted out of her dream job of serving at The Pentagon. Her journey throughout Interceptor is one of the better aspects of the film, especially with Elsa’s performance, as we see a woman go from scorned to accepted to a hero. Unfortunately, the film tends to paint a better picture than reality when it comes to the military’s handlings of such matters. How often do people- women in particular- have the opportunity to “win back” the approval of their country in a world-saving situation, after all? As I said before… at least the entertainment is there.
Opposite of Elsa Pataky’s Collins is Luke Bracey’s former US military intelligence officer, Alexander Kessel. I like the fact that director Matthew Reilly and screenwriting partner Stuart Beattie opted to give Kessel a characterization and motivation outside of the typical “evil guy” persona. But I do think Bracey undersold his interpretation of such a character. I wasn’t too convinced about the causes he claimed to care about while trying to convince Collins to join him- especially since one of his missionaries, a guy who just wants to “take back America,” was on his team. He amplified the charismatic part of his character, however.
The latest Netflix feature may be all kinds of impractical and over-the-top, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that every moment in this 96-minute runtime is downright entertaining. From the opening sequence to its satisfying ending, Interceptor is the kind of mindless entertainment I can always welcome. There are some questionable sequences, sure. But with each of them comes gratifying character moments that enable the actors to shine. And in the end, the energy of the cast, the confined action, and its strong female lead are reasons to catch the flick on Netflix – June 3, 2022!
Check out the trailer below for Matthew Reilly’s Interceptor – available to stream on Netflix Friday, June 3, 2022!