Interceptor aims for the sky and misses by a colossal margin.
Interceptor follows JJ (Elsa Pataky) as she fights to save America from a coordinated attack that could see the country and everyone who lives there wiped from existence. She and her years of training are all that stand between 300 million people and total nuclear annihilation.
This is not a good film. It is essentially Elsa Pataky getting rag-dolled for an hour and a half, with boredom and predictability thrown in for good measure. Interceptor induces eye-rolling to the point where you really have to suspend belief or risk going blind. I like to give films like this — male-dominated action movies with a female protagonist — the benefit of the doubt because sometimes I feel like they get a lot of flack purely because it’s a woman playing the action hero, but even for me, this one was a push.
Usually, you can at least count on the action being solid; it’s one of those things that is almost fail-safe because it’s what these kinds of films are all about. As it turns out, I was wrong. The hand-to-hand combat was so wooden, and the stuff involving weapons was just ridiculous, which really didn’t work for a film that took itself as seriously as Interceptor did. I’ve got to be honest, I have absolutely no problem with action movies that go a little light on things like writing and performances when the action itself is good. I’m talking excessively loud and messy explosions, impressive fight sequences, and pretty much set-piece after set-piece — when that is there I really couldn’t care less how Oscar-worthy the rest of the film is. But the problem here was none of that was present.
This lack of action paired with how bare the actual plot of the film was made a very boring and predictable viewing experience. Interceptor took its pick of every stereotype imaginable and decided to incorporate them into the proceedings, regardless of whether some of them may have canceled out some of the others. It also indulged itself in so many unnecessary subplots that really added nothing to the overall story, succeeding only in contributing further to its pick’n’mix of action hero stereotypes. This is a film that would have benefited massively from a little self-awareness about what it was and really leaning into that as opposed to doing what it did here, which was to aim for the sky and miss by a huge margin.
For all of its inconsistencies, one area in which Interceptor was truly consistent was in how messy it was in terms of narrative. The more I think about the film as I write this review, the less it makes sense. The actual storytelling is so jumbled and nonsensical, to the point that I’m questioning whether I might have just failed to grasp what was going on because there is surely no way that many narrative discrepancies can surface within the space of 98 minutes. The film was predictable in the sense that it would do absolutely anything in order to patch the holes in its story. What was truly unpredictable, however, was where new holes would appear as it stretched its paper-thin plot well beyond its limits.
My favorite part of Interceptor was the last action sequence of the final act. It was the one part of the film that actually did anything for me. The race against the clock was pretty tense, and even though it was obvious what the outcome would be, the way it was pieced together did manage to keep me very engaged until JJ had crossed the finish line.
All in all, Interceptor is a definite miss. Everything about this film is ridiculous, but it plays it all so straight it is impossible to get behind. The action is shocking, and the writing and overall plot are so colorless, beige would be overselling it. It feels like it would form the basis of a single episode of some sort of procedural TV show, but anything more than that would be a struggle, as proven here.