The new Netflix action-drama Interceptor sinks in its own absurdity
Starring: Elsa Pataky and Luke Bracey
Directed by: Matthew Reilly
Tagline: The world’s last defense.
f you want to see just why Netflix is having trouble holding on to its subscribers, then look no further than Interceptor, a clunky, would-be action thriller (with nary a thrill in sight) that begs the question: do we really want to keep paying for this streaming service?
A formulaic plot, unrealistic situations, and terrible acting converge in one of the latest in what appears to be a string of predominantly subpar movies (The Bubble, Choose or Die, Along for the Ride, Senior Year, A Perfect Pairing) released by the streamer recently.
Elsa Pataky stars as J. J., a U.S. Army captain who has just been reassigned to SBX-1, a remote platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and one of the two military outposts that are designed to intercept any nuclear warheads launched at the U.S.
When terrorists take out the other interceptor site, leaving SBX-1 as America’s last defence, it is up to J. J. to almost single-handedly stop attackers – led by Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey) – from taking control of her station as well.
The bad guys have seized 16 nuclear missiles from Russian territory and intend to disable all U.S. interceptors so that they can attack America. Standing in their way is J. J.’s one woman army. She’s fierce. She’s invincible. She’s entirely unconvincing.
The poor script and bad acting don’t do much to elevate what is already a flimsy plot. Its essentially single-location setup – for these are the times of Covid – has potential but ends up feeling restrictive instead of inventive. There is no suspense, no sense of impending doom. It’s all just a clichéd slog to a predictable destination.
The leading lady is committed to the nonsense unfolding around her and the film may leave you wanting to find out what Elsa Pataky’s workout routine is, but neither the actress nor her character is strong enough to carry the film. (An unamusing cameo by her husband, Chris Hemsworth, who executive produced the film, only makes you look at the product even more cynically.)
The developments are so absurd that they border on parody. Matthew Reilly – the film marks the directorial debut of the Australian novelist – fails to imbue the proceedings with anything unique or distinctive, and doesn’t even add enough thrill to the dumbness in order to at least make the action entertaining.
The fact that this comically bad waste of 90 odd minutes was the number one movie upon its release on Netflix shows you what state the platform is in at the moment. The service has shown, time and again, that they are capable of making terrific content, and if they want to remain at the top of the streaming game, they seriously need to reconsider how they invest their resources and pick better projects to finance.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection