By: John M Jerva
Action fans know that 2020’s Netflix actioner Extraction was a welcome addition to the genre and heralded in former MCU stunt alum Sam Hargrave as a true action filmmaking threat. Chris Hemsworth, who is best known for playing Thor, gave us another franchise worthy character in Tyker Rake and he shined in the numerous action filled set pieces that redefined action cinema.
Move over Chris because your wife Elsa Pataky is seriously making a case for new action star with her latest endeavor Interceptor which is also a Netflix original movie. Pataky who was solid as a supporting character in a few of the Fast and Furious films is front and center this time around as she plays a military officer who is the last line of defense when terrorists threaten to blanket the world in nuclear fallout. As a lead, Pataky is solid and convincing in the role which has her doing numerous physical sequences including hand to hand combat and your usual running around and jumping from explosions.
Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is seriously lackluster and since it was coming from Hargrave, who worked on the action sequences, I was expecting a lot better. Let me clear myself and say that I didn’t hate the movie, but it was a rather shoddy attempt at Netflix to deliver something in the vein of Extraction even though this one clearly didn’t have the budget of the former. Now low budgets are not necessarily a bad thing but here it shows its weary self, and we get more mundane talking than exhilarating action.
From author and first-time director Matthew Reilly comes the story of Captain JJ Collins (Pataky) who unfortunately finds herself commissioned to a lone nuclear missile interceptor base, which is one of only two, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which is basically in the middle of nowhere after she tried to bring a two-star general to justice for sexual misconduct. Bad news for Collins in that the Army took his side and basically threw her to the wolves and stationed her as far away as possible.
When a terrorist mission led by sociopathic Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey), who also happens to be a former US military intelligence officer, threatens the lives of billions with nuclear fallout, Collins must break into action and save the day. Collins has to utilize all her years of tactical military training to defuse the situation and stop Kessel from launching WWIII.
The story is nothing new and usually I couldn’t care less and here I don’t as it’s another Die Hard clone and usually, I’m drawn to these clones as there’s just something about them. Plots are mostly serviceable instruments to fuel the action set pieces and if done well, I can always let go the fact that I’ve seen this type of movie before at least a thousand times. With Interceptor, the rest of the movie doesn’t rise to the occasion and when you start scrolling through social media while watching a movie, that’s usually not a good sign.
First let me go over the positives because there are a few. Like I stated, Pataky is solid in her first real action induced role and she convinces me that I would like to see her do more of these types of films in the future. hell, i would love to see her hook up with her hubby and deliver an action pic that would work off their chemistry. Pataky handles the physical aspects of the role well and even though she spends most of the movie talking to Bracey through a video com link, when the action does hit, she’s more than able and ready.
Secondly, the action scenes, when they do happen, aren’t bad and I feel that if anyone except Hargrave was responsible for them, we would have gotten much, much worse. I’m sure Hargrave worked with what they gave him, and this just goes to show what a talent he is because he still made something out of what could have been nothing. Most of the action is of the hand-to-hand variety and Pataky is all in and ready and able to prove that she can kick ass with the best of them. The bad news is that there isn’t much of that and instead we get talk, talk, talk and more talk.
Interceptor does have a sincere 90’s DTV throwback appeal to it and while I was watching it, I couldn’t help but think of Don “The Dragon” Wilson’s attempt at this sort of thing in Bloodfist 6: Ground Zero. I dare say the budgets were almost the same although the Dragon brought more action to the proceedings. Nothing against Pataky, who once again I’m a fan of, but she is given little to do here.
The rest of the cast sans Bracey is forgettable and Luke stars as our antagonist who does have a few solid moments with Pataky while they’re conversing through screens. Bracey brings a stoic reserve to Alexander Kessel, and I liked that he didn’t go over the top with it and kept it more reserve. Some of the dialogue is cringe-worthy however but for the most part, he works well with Pataky as well.
Don’t ask me to talk about the rest of the cast because either I forgot about them due to my disorder or for the simple fact that they weren’t memorable. The only other cast member I can remember is Aaron Glenane who played Beaver. He’s the surprise he’s really working for the bad guy’s character who comes off as extremely annoying and I wanted to see his character die quickly. Unfortunately, he doesn’t, and he is kept alive to almost the ending. I rolled my eyes every time he thought he was this bad ass military man, but he just comes off as a douche.
Now let’s talk about Chris Hemsworth’s cameo. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Thor makes an appearance in his wife’s movie and even though I thought it was funny at first, it goes on for way to long and it is indeed cringey to watch after a while. I mean, we get it, he’s helping his wife out but come on don’t beat a dead horse with it. I was sort of embarrassed for him and the filmmakers as they probably thought it was funnier than it really was.
Overall, there really isn’t much to say about Interceptor. I heard that Netflix might spend more quality over quantity with their movie and that will be a good thing. I feel that they think they have to make 1000 films a year to compete with the other sites but at the end of the day, that’s not what sells. Pataky proves that she can handle an action lead but here, she isn’t given much to work with. This is a great example of how the trailer made the movie look better than it really is. There’s some solid action courtesy of Sam Hargrave but for the most part, the cheap look of it all makes it suffer and we do to as an audience. Is Extraction 2 coming out yet?