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Matthew Reilly ’s debut “Interceptor,” now on Netflix, might as well come with a Cannon logo in front of it. It is such an old-fashioned action film that it practically plays like a discarded Chuck Norris script, just with some modern gender politics and social issues in play (although someone like Cynthia Rothrock could have easily headlined almost exactly the same film in the ‘80s). With co-writer Stuart Beattie (“ Collateral ”), Reilly has crafted a movie that the characters from “The Expendables” might sit around watching, and there’s something admirable about the no-nonsense hoo-rah of it all. Some of the execution is a bit clunky—the fight choreography is flat, especially in the climax—but this is the kind of summer escapism that people often seek as the weather gets warmer across the United States. Now you can get it on Netflix too.

The story goes that Reilly purposefully wanted his first project to include a moderate budget with few cast members and one set. And so we know it won’t be long before something chaotic when he drops JJ Collins ( Elsa Pataky ) on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic, a vessel that houses interceptor missiles, the international safety net designed to take care of business if a nuclear weapon happens to be launched. This is a homecoming of sorts for Collins, who was forced out of service by trolls who came after her when she blew the whistle on the superior who sexually assaulted her. She’s a no-nonsense soldier, someone who we want on our side when the shit hits the fan.

Of course, on the day she gets there, the fan gets blasted when terrorists steal 16 nuclear weapons from a facility in Russia and aim them at major cities in the United States. As she’s discussing how this could have happened with a superior, she discovers that the bad guys have also considered the role of the interceptor and happen to be on the ship already. Led by an obnoxious alpha male named Kessel ( Luke Bracey ), the terrorists seem to have little more than complete annihilation of the human race on their mind. Can JJ keep them from the control room that would allow them to disable the interceptors and wipe out the entire United States?

Of course, she can. A movie like “Interceptor” isn’t set up as one with a lot of twists and turns, so it becomes an exercise in execution. Most of that falls on the shoulders of Pataky and Bracey, who bicker between the bullets and fight scenes that erupt every time Kessel tries to breach the control room. Pataky can be a bit too stoic, especially in the opening scenes, but she’s game for the action of the second half of the film and believable as the hero. Bracey leans into the shallow smarm of his character, even if he too could have been a tad more charismatic. Both performers seem a bit under-directed when there’s a version of “Interceptor” that leans even harder into its B-movie ’80s roots, dropping one-liners and quality kills. As goofy and full of plot holes as it is, the film almost takes itself too seriously (although a cameo from Pataky’s husband and executive producer Chris Hemsworth is kinda fun.)

It also might have been nice to lean into style a bit more with the action, most of which is shot in a way that gets the job done but little more than that. Ultimately, that’s an appraisal that works for all of “Interceptor.” It’s fine. It gets the job done. Given how many mediocre action movies have found their way to VOD and streaming services over the last couple years, just getting the job done kind of feels like a minor miracle. But Chuck Norris would have had more fun with it.

On Netflix today.

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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Interceptor (2022)

Elsa Pataky as JJ Collins

Luke Bracey as Alexander Kessel

Aaron Glenane as Beaver Baker

Belinda Jombwe as Ensign Washington

Mayen Mehta as Rahul Shah

Paul Caesar as Captain Lou Welsh

Marcus Johnson as General Dyson

Rhys Muldoon as Clark Marshall

Colin Friels as Frank Collins

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Elsa Pataky in Interceptor.

Interceptor review – absurd yet entertaining Netflix action thriller

A frantic real-time piece of pulp about one woman trying to avert nuclear missiles hitting the US is clunky yet committed

W hile the rather surprisingly robust box office performance of Top Gun: Maverick has shown, once again, that all really is back to normal on the big-screen blockbuster front, as a sort of precautionary measure, a more-stacked-than-usual summer season of streaming has also kicked off. There are shows with budgets the size of movies, from Stranger Things to Obi-Wan Kenobi to the upcoming She-Hulk and Ms Marvel, and films like The Gray Man, Prey, Secret Headquarters and Spiderhead, all slick enough to be major theatrical tentpoles. Before most of that, and on a far, far smaller scale, drops high-energy thriller Interceptor, landing with whatever the opposite of buzz is on Netflix, modelling itself as an irony-free throwback to summers past and just about succeeding.

The past in particular here would be the 80s, a time when action films were all quippy one-liners, earnest melodrama, artfully muddied up T-shirts and an uneasily fetishistic amount of guns. It’s defiantly uncool, without the wink-wink nostalgia one might expect, and on its own silly, low-stakes terms, it kind of works, easy to digest if difficult to remember. It’s led by Spanish model turned actor Elsa Pataky, who plays army captain JJ Collins, assigned to a last-minute post in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s an interceptor base, one of two created to prevent Russian nuclear missiles from landing on American soil. If one were to launch, there would be a short timeframe for a response (we’re told at the outset that it takes just 24 minutes for a Russian missile to land in the US, a gulp of a fact given the horrors of the last few months). In a rushed opener, we see flashes of a massacre at the other station in Alaska, meaning “the only thing standing between America and armageddon” is Collins and her team.

Which is mightily unfortunate when a psychopathic former intelligence officer (Luke Bracey) murders his way onboard and reveals that missiles will be heading toward every major US city. It’s up to Collins to barricade herself in the main hub, guarding the controls and hopefully saving most of America.

The frantic battle of wills that follows takes place mostly in real time, similarish to writer Stuart Beattie’s 2004 thriller Collateral, if with obviously far less panache. This isn’t Michael Mann at the helm but Australian novelist and first-time director Matthew Reilly who does an adequate job at keeping things ticking along without ever edging his film into something more than it is or really needs to be. Clunky dialogue and questionable performances (Pataky is far more efficient at landing a physical jab than a verbal one) are somewhat papered over by both the film’s contagious enthusiasm and laudable ambition. It might be a relatively contained thriller but the stakes and impact are drawn on a far bigger canvas with Reilly edging us into disaster movie territory with scenes “on the ground” in the cities at risk (an over-extended cameo from Pataky’s off-screen husband Chris Hemsworth as an LA appliance store worker is initially amusing yet ultimately grating).

There are also some attempts to modernise a dusty formula with Pataky’s backstory involving a case of sexual harassment from a superior (a noble if mishandled subplot) and some of the villain’s ramblings touching on nepotism and white privilege. It doesn’t all land but Beattie, whose credits also include Australia, 30 Days of Night and the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, is a touch above the hired hack that usually scripts guff like this and there are brief nuggets of substance. But it all takes a backseat to the action which is at times clumsily captured but otherwise violently effective, especially given the film’s tight budget. It’s brutal and to-the-point, like the film itself, and while it’s not going to make a star of Pataky or anyone watching a sudden convert to Netflix’s mockbuster oeuvre, it’ll make for a decent summer snack until something better lands.

Interceptor is now available on Netflix

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Graphic violence, language in female-driven actioner.

Interceptor Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Underneath the violence are messages about not giv

Captain Collins demonstrates courage and persevera

Shah is Hindu American. The captain, who is a stro

Characters are shot, stabbed, sliced, kicked, punc

A woman wears an outfit that reveals the bottoms o

Frequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "b

A character who was raised wealthy says that his p

Two adults drink liquor in one scene. In another,

Parents need to know that Interceptor is an intense action film that centers on Capt. JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky), a U.S. Army captain who must defend the command center of a nuclear interceptor base. She demonstrates courage and perseverance both in this task and in overcoming severe bullying after calling out…

Positive Messages

Underneath the violence are messages about not giving up, doing the right thing. Never stop fighting. Greed doesn't pay. Characters question American exceptionalism.

Positive Role Models

Captain Collins demonstrates courage and perseverance. Her dad taught her to never stop fighting, even when the world seems against her or when she's on her last physical reserves. She's working to save the world from nuclear war. Co-worker Shah demonstrates courage and kindness. Other characters are driven to kill and destroy out of greed or personal vengeance.

Diverse Representations

Shah is Hindu American. The captain, who is a strong woman with agency, was raised in Spain. Secondary characters are Black and Asian; the U.S. president is a woman. One White character complains that the America of immigrants is not his America (this opinion is viewed negatively). The captain was sexually harassed by a male superior and demoted as a result; a fellow Army woman says "it's happened to a lot of us."

Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.

Violence & Scariness

Characters are shot, stabbed, sliced, kicked, punched, thrown around, killed. A person is beheaded; others are killed at close range. One character was a torture specialist who killed two prisoners while interrogating them. Lots of blood. An entire crew is killed with a nerve agent. A character dislocates her thumbs. A woman in the Army was sexually harassed, then bullied and threatened for speaking out. Suicide attempt (with pills).

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

A woman wears an outfit that reveals the bottoms of her breasts.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Frequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn," "whore," "slut," "ho," "balls." "God" and "Jesus" as exclamations.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Products & Purchases

A character who was raised wealthy says that his problems stem from a capitalist system that rewards money over integrity or qualifications.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two adults drink liquor in one scene. In another, a character apparently tries to die by suicide by overdosing on pills.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Interceptor is an intense action film that centers on Capt. JJ Collins ( Elsa Pataky ), a U.S. Army captain who must defend the command center of a nuclear interceptor base. She demonstrates courage and perseverance both in this task and in overcoming severe bullying after calling out sexual harassment by a decorated superior. Violence is frequent and graphic: Characters are shot, stabbed, sliced, kicked, punched, thrown around, and killed at close range. One person is beheaded, and another appears to intentionally overdose on pills (later, she also purposefully dislocates her thumbs). The story includes significant peril for millions of people living in U.S. cities that are under nuclear threat. Language is also very mature, with frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn," "whore," "Jesus," and more. The diversity of the United States -- represented here by the captain (who was raised in Spain), her Hindu American colleague, a woman U.S. president, and Black and Asian secondary characters -- rankles a racist White terrorist. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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What's the Story?

Capt. JJ Collins ( Elsa Pataky ) has just been reposted to a nuclear missile INTERCEPTOR base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It's clear that she's disappointed with the post, which seems to represent a demotion due to a highly publicized case she was involved in. Her first day back on the rig starts off with an emergency: The only other U.S. base able to intercept nuclear missiles from Russia has been taken over by terrorists, who've also stolen a handful of missiles in Russia. Soon Collins learns that almost everyone on the rig has been killed by a villainous crew led by Alexander Kessel ( Luke Bracey ), and it's up to her and her last-standing colleague, Shah (Mayen Mehta), to defend the command center and prevent nuclear weapons from dropping on cities across the United States.

Is It Any Good?

This suspenseful action film gets bogged down by some convoluted character motives, but the formula works, and Pataky is credible as a Die Hard -style hero. Interceptor should serve as a calling card for Spain-born Pataky, of Fast & Furious fame, who's been circling Hollywood leading lady roles for decades. The movie is strongest on the action front, with a perfectly claustrophobic mid-sea setting and well-choreographed fights. There are also memorable moments confirming villain Kessel's instability, like when he draws a sad face with his finger in fresh blood. Other characters, like Shah and Beaver (Aaron Glenane), feel more like simplistic representations of ideas -- e.g., Beaver's screen saver of a blond woman with a machine gun in front of an American flag. (And an uncredited role by Pataky's real-life husband, Chris Hemsworth , could have been worked into the storyline to make it less conspicuously gratuitous.)

This clearly shows how the script is trying but struggling to go deep. Lots of big ideas are thrown around in this Australian co-production about capitalism, American exceptionalism, immigration, the American dream, and more. But none of them really explain the terrorists' motives and why they're fine with nuking 12 different densely populated metropolitan areas. Instead, they come off sounding a bit like a first-year college student who's just discovered that he disagrees with his parents' worldview.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about the violence in Interceptor . How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?

Some characters critique U.S. values. What examples can you think of?

How does Capt. Collins demonstrate courage and perseverance ? How do these characteristics help her in moments of crisis?

Talk about what Collins goes through in regards to the sexual harassment case in Interceptor . How accurate do you think this is to real-life situations? Where could you go for more information?

Movie Details

  • On DVD or streaming : June 3, 2022
  • Cast : Elsa Pataky , Luke Bracey , Mayen Mehta
  • Director : Matthew Reilly
  • Studio : Netflix
  • Genre : Action/Adventure
  • Character Strengths : Courage , Perseverance
  • Run time : 98 minutes
  • MPAA rating : NR
  • Last updated : February 17, 2023

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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Interceptor (2022)

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  • like high-intensity plots that are incredibly well-researched
  • have waited for ages to finally see a believable and well-written female action lead
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Interceptor review: elsa pataky holds her own in wonky action thriller.

In ​​Interceptor, director & co-writer Matthew Reilly has taken on quite the task. The result is a somewhat entertaining, silly & wonky action flick.

Interceptor is one of those action films born from the subgenre Die Hard created, using the ticking clock strategy to create a tense, fast-paced and entertaining action film. The hero has a fixed target and a clear mission, and for 90 minutes, viewers watch as they outsmart, outmaneuver, and outfight their enemies. It seems like an easy task, but it can be challenging to carry the momentum. As many will attest, Die Hard is an exception. A film that aspires to reach those heights needs to have everything working perfectly, starting with a leading actor that can carry a movie alongside engaging fight choreography, exceptional filming techniques, and pacing that constantly ratchets up the tension. In ​​ Interceptor , Matthew Reilly , in his directorial debut, has taken on quite the task and the result is somewhat entertaining, silly, and wonky.

Elsa Pataky stars as Captain JJ Collins, who has recently been stationed at one of two interceptor bases for the U.S. Army. These interceptor bases are the last line of defense in the event of a nuclear strike from Russia or any enemy state across the Pacific Ocean. After facing sexual harassment and the full brunt of a patriarchal backlash for standing up for herself, Collins is demoted to her previously held post on SBX-1. Just as she arrives, a coordinated attack at the first interceptor base and an attack on one of Russia's missile bases is carried out on SBX-1. JJ, who the army undermined, is now the only person who can save the United States and maybe the world.

Related:  Elsa Pataky: Interceptor Interview

Technically speaking, the film is fine. By Hollywood standards, the action is better than most, but it's still heavily edited to mask either the poor choreography or a misguided attempt to capitalize on the fast-paced, breathless actioner it wants to be. Pataky does, however, sell the action scenes with a fierce commitment that cannot be ignored. She is confident and bold but, most importantly, steady. Pataky doesn't over-commit to the "action star" persona. She is not without vulnerability and can delve into the more personal aspects of her character without sacrificing the strong energy she projects and that the film desperately wants to capitalize on. Opposite Pataky is Luke Bracey, who is hamming it up as Alexander, the brilliant tactician hellbent on bringing America to its knees but manages to never cross the line to absurdity. As for everyone else, they do the bare minimum with their roles.

However, the film does lose its footing when it comes to unveiling the motivations of the villainous Alexander. In a roundabout way, Interceptor plays with the idea that he is like many a Bond villain — motivated by money but loudly and pompously preaches some higher-than-thou belief that the world would be better off with millions of people dead. Through its small roster of characters, the story plays tug-of-war with the idea of American exceptionalism and the extreme misogyny that plagues the world's largest military. Many of the sentiments that characterize the U.S. are portrayed mockingly and almost satirically, revealing the less than kind views Reilly and co-writer Stuart Beattie have of America. Yet, the film falls into that pit willingly by making a point to center JJ Collins as this exceptional serviceperson who, despite being ridiculed, demoted, sexually harassed, and discriminated against for not being American-born, is still willing to die for the country.

The film is not bold enough to reckon with the reality that Collins was willingly put in harm's way by the country she claims to proudly serve. The heroism on display by Collins and Indian American Rahul Shah (Mayen Mehta) is heralded for not just being heroic for the sake of humanity, but because — despite discrimination and bigotry — they will stand for the country and army that hate them for being different. It is a strange and unyielding text that diminishes what could have been an entertaining action flick involving highly-skilled individuals. No matter how knowingly flippant it is, the faux-intellectualism could have been left behind, along with maybe 20 minutes to make for a more effective 80-minute run. The film and its content are laughable and cringe-worthy at times, but there have been far worse examples. Beattie wrote gems such as Derailed , I, Frankenstein , and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra , but the core reason to watch Interceptor is to witness Pataky save the world single-handedly.

Interceptor is silly overall. The scenario is highly improbable, but it's a decent setup for an epic fight between one woman and a team of highly trained individuals. It is demonstrably laughable when certain baddies appear and are extreme examples of clichés. The long-winded speeches from the villain are worth an eye-roll, but Bracey has fun with how he feigns superiority. His performance is the cherry on top of this gag of a story. Interceptor checks all the boxes in terms of making an action film that will grab the audience's attention, have one root for the hero, and let out a few chuckles (especially for one horribly done cameo) before promptly forgetting the movie exists.

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Interceptor  is streaming on Netflix as of Friday, June 3. It is 98 minutes long and is rated TV-MA.

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Interceptor review: Is Fast & Furious star's Netflix movie worth a watch?

Die Hard in the Pacific Ocean.

Headshot of Ian Sandwell

We're barely 10 minutes in when Captain JJ Collins ( Fast & Furious star Elsa Pataky) is taking on a terrorist who, in reality, should crush her. She gets the upper hand briefly, only for him to get back up and Collins to remark with a totally straight face: "Goddamnit, you're a big boy."

It's a so-bad-it's-good line that you'll either laugh along with in the naff spirit it was intended or roll your eyes at. If it's the latter, you might as well give up on Interceptor there and then as it makes no attempt to hide its influences. It's Die Hard in the Pacific Ocean with just about every action-movie cliché you can think of.

And yet, if you're after a mindless Netflix offering this Bank Holiday weekend, it's an entertaining and snappily paced offering that does the job. You'll just have to ignore the fact that, objectively, it's really not a very good movie.

elsa pataky, interceptor

Interceptor doesn't really spend too much time on its plot, so there's not much to explain about it. After Fort Greely is overrun, it's down to the US's only other nuclear missile interceptor base, SBX-1, to save the day in the event of a nuclear strike.

Unfortunately, SBX-1 comes under threat from terrorists looking to launch 16 nuclear missiles at the US. Fortunately though, the extremely capable and tactically astute Captain JJ Collins has just arrived back on the base, and she'll wage a one-woman war against the terrorists to stop them carrying out their twisted mission.

We wouldn't dream of spoiling it here, of course, but you can pretty much tell how Interceptor pans out from there. In place of twists (barring the standard double-cross from an extremely obvious villainous 'good guy'), the movie stacks the plate with ticking clocks, from the countdown to a SEAL Team arrival to the various nuclear missile strikes.

It's not a subtle plot device, but Interceptor never really claims to be subtle, and it does the job to keep the tension ticking over. You know that the SEAL Team will never be there when Collins needs it, just like you know she'll likely manage to save the day each time with seconds to spare, yet it doesn't stop it being any less effective.

The same could be said for the fight scenes as, again, you know Collins is never really in danger, but they're well-constructed all the same. It helps that they often have a killer final beat that ends up more gruesome than you'd expect, while the stunt work is impressive and the contained location means things never get too ludicrous.

tim wong, elsa pataky, interceptor

Well, that is the case until the finale when Collins starts taking on every task literally one-handed. By the time this climax rolls around though, you're clearly already invested in Interceptor 's nonsense (as you've lasted this long) that you'll go along with it.

Ironically, what does let Interceptor down is whenever it attempts to add some depth. Collins didn't choose to be back on SBX-1 and is the victim of injustice after an incident with a three-star general, which is shown through melodramatic flashbacks. Her father's only rule in life is "never stop fighting", so she does just that despite what happened.

It's meant to be a mirror of the bad guy's – Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey) – motivations as he believes the only way to save the US is to "erase it, start over" because there's injustice everywhere. The entire movie flirts with feeling like a spoof of action movies, but it's these strands that tip it firmly into that territory.

You'll be willing the movie to end the talking and get back to the action as these scenes highlight that, objectively, you're not watching a good movie. You just don't notice it as much when it's throwing out clichés and jabbing guns in bad guys' eyes (a genuine thing that actually happens).

If you turn your brain off and go along for the ride, you can add a star to the rating below. But be warned, we never told you Interceptor was an action classic.

Interceptor is available to watch now on Netflix.

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Movies Editor, Digital Spy  

Ian has more than 10 years of movies journalism experience as a writer and editor.  Starting out as an intern at trade bible Screen International, he was promoted to report and analyse UK box-office results, as well as carving his own niche with horror movies , attending genre festivals around the world.   After moving to Digital Spy , initially as a TV writer, he was nominated for New Digital Talent of the Year at the PPA Digital Awards.   He became Movies Editor in 2019, in which role he has interviewed 100s of stars, including Chris Hemsworth, Florence Pugh, Keanu Reeves, Idris Elba and Olivia Colman, become a human encyclopedia for Marvel and appeared as an expert guest on BBC News and on-stage at MCM Comic-Con. Where he can, he continues to push his horror agenda – whether his editor likes it or not.  

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Interceptor Review: Elsa Pataky Decimates Terrorists in Netflix's Nuclear Thriller

An Army officer (Elsa Pataky) battles nuclear terrorists on an ocean platform in Interceptor.

Elsa Pataky gives hubby Chris Hemsworth a run for the action money in a gloriously overblown nuclear thriller. Interceptor has a formidable Army officer taking down ruthless terrorists in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It's a save America scenario that hearkens back to the unstoppable one-man, or in this case one-woman, eighties hero that takes a licking but delivers far worse. Interceptor is chock-full of countdowns and beat downs. The film challenges racist, sexist, and anti-capitalist ideology with a patriotic fervor. Interceptor treads hokey but never stops the action onslaught.

Interceptor opens with coordinated terrorist attacks on three military bases . Sixteen mobile ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) are stolen from Russia. Shortly thereafter, Fort Greely in Alaska, one of two US anti-ballistic missile batteries, aka interceptors, in the Pacific is attacked. Thus leaving SBX-1, a floating ocean missile platform, as America's only defense against a nuclear strike.

Captain JJ Collins (Pataky) choppers to SBX-1 to resume a post she had previously left. Her career was marred after she retaliated against a scummy general for harassment. JJ's welcome is short-lived. Contractors disguised as janitors try to capture SBX-1 and destroy its computer system. JJ bravely locks them out of the control room. The terrorist mastermind, Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey), has killed everyone else on the rig. JJ, the timid Shah (Mayen Mehta), and knocked unconscious Beaver (Aaron Glenane) are America's only hope to stop nuclear annihilation. She must outwit and fight an adversary willing to murder three hundred million people.

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Non-Stop Barrage of Gunplay and Martial Arts

Interceptor can be summed up as Die Hard meets Panic Room on an ocean rig. JJ has to single-handedly counter the baddies while keeping the control room secure. The action is a non-stop barrage of gunplay and brutal martial arts combat. Kessel's men attempt to slither in like cockroaches through wall cracks. JJ pummels them with bone-crushing moves. She snaps appendages like twigs to gain the upper hand on much larger opponents. Pataky is in full beast mode here.

Interceptor's script has the antagonists declaring their evil plans out loud. Kessel broadcasts live from the rig to sow panic across the country. Which cities will be reduced to radioactive ashes? He launches tirades against a country he sees as corrupt. JJ retorts as the stalwart protector of American values. Their back and forth is a surprisingly pertinent political discourse. Director/co-writer Matthew Reilly pulls no punches, literally and figuratively in his feature debut. JJ and Shah represent an America of empowered women and immigrants willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Interceptor relies heavily on standard action tropes. There are multiple scenes of clocks counting down to imminent doom. Where JJ has to press big red buttons with milliseconds to spare. The cheese factor is thankfully tapered down by the severe body count. Kessel is no joke. He makes his bloody point repeatedly. Luke Bracey succeeds in being a menacing villain.

Pataky's performance is a revelation. She's had a long career in the action genre but nothing remotely this physical. Pataky proves herself as a bonafide action star. I'd love to see her character again in a sequel. Chris Hemsworth serves as an executive producer and has a humorous supporting role.

Interceptor is a production of Ambience Entertainment and Foryor Entertainment. It will have a June 3rd streaming premiere globally on Netflix.

REVIEW: Netflix Thriller Interceptor Delivers Unconvincing Action

Interceptor is a straightforward, no-frills action movie, full of plot contrivances, unconvincing dialogue, and shaky performances.

The opening titles of Interceptor feature a flood of information about so-called "interceptor" bases, U.S. military installations with the ability to fire missiles to intercept a nuclear attack from Russia. These title cards provide the necessary high-concept set-up for the directorial debut from bestselling novelist Matthew Reilly, known for his action-packed thriller novels . Reilly brings that same approach to Interceptor , a straightforward, no-frills action movie largely set in a single location. It's full of plot contrivances, unconvincing dialogue, and shaky performances, although Reilly stages some decent action on a relatively small budget. Reilly co-wrote the screenplay with Hollywood veteran Stuart Beattie ( Collateral , G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra ), but the feels similar to the dozens of low-budget, direct-to-video action movies released every year, some on Netflix like Interceptor .

Before those opening titles, Interceptor establishes that the interceptor base in Alaska has been compromised. That leaves only SBX-1, the sea platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where Army Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky) is just arriving for her second tour of duty. As periodic flashbacks establish throughout the movie, JJ has had her promising military career cut short thanks to retaliation for accusations of sexual harassment she made against a commanding officer. Instead of being headed for a prestigious job at the Pentagon, she's been busted back down to this podunk outpost.

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She arrives at just the right time, though, because she's barely had time to look around wistfully at her new quarters before her superior officer orders her into the base's command center immediately with her sidearm. Interceptor is the kind of action movie in which characters mention the possibility of events occurring mere seconds before they actually do. The dialogue relies heavily on either clumsy, unnecessary exposition or cheesy one-liners. Once JJ arrives in the command center, it's only another few moments before the sleeper agents at SBX-1, posing as janitors, initiate their own takeover, just like the one in Alaska.

Of course, these terrorists didn't count on JJ, who's a hyper-competent, nearly invincible warrior with little to lose. She's the John McClane figure in this Die Hard knock-off, and Luke Bracey is the Hans Gruber as terrorist leader Alex Kessel. He's a pretty ineffectual villain, though, and his taunts to JJ as they spend most of the movie locked in separate corridors are not particularly threatening, despite the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kessel's terrorist associates have seized 16 nuclear missiles in Russia, which they are aiming at 16 cities in the U.S. The SBX-1 base is the only remaining line of defense, so Kessel needs to take it out before the missiles can be successfully launched.

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That means he and his disposable associates need to defeat JJ, whose only ally is the timid Cpl. Rahul Shah (Mayen Mehta), a tech operator who says that he hasn't fired a gun since basic training. Obviously, Shah will have his moment of heroism when the plot calls for it, but for most of Interceptor 's running time, it's up to JJ to devise a plan, fortify the command center, and single-handedly defeat any terrorist who happens to breach the doors. Reilly struggles to find enough variations on the same scenario in this cramped, contained location, and there are multiple reversals in the standoff between JJ and Kessel, which quickly exhaust the narrative possibilities.

Pataky, a Spanish actress best known to U.S. audiences for her role in the Fast & Furious movies, projects grit and determination, but JJ is such a one-dimensional character that it's hard to take her seriously. Interceptor 's flashbacks to the abuse she endured earlier in her military career are meant to humanize her, but they come off as reductive takes on sexual harassment and bullying, and Reilly frames them with the kind of gauzy soft focus usually reserved for romantic reveries. Instead of sensitive and affecting, they're as over-the-top as the badass posturing between JJ and Kessel.

Pataky's husband, Chris Hemsworth, is an executive producer on Interceptor , and he dutifully puts in an extended cameo as a goofy TV salesman watching footage of the crisis unfold. However, the moments of silly humor mostly just undercut the attempted seriousness of the story, which is already on questionable footing. It doesn't help that Reilly presents a muddled political perspective, giving Kessel some standard-issue progressive talking points but then having his main ally express equally stereotypical right-wing ideals. There's a sort of patriotic, pro-military message, but it's as unbelievable as the prospect of nuclear Armageddon. Hundreds of millions of lives are supposedly at stake, but Interceptor doesn't live up to such stakes.

Interceptor premieres Friday, June 3 on Netflix.

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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Interceptor’ on Netflix, a Ridiculous Throwback-Action Flick Starring Elsa Pataky as an Indestructable Badass

Where to stream:.

  • Interceptor (2022)
  • Elsa Pataky

Chris Hemsworth Says His Alzheimer's Risk Was "Overdramatized": "Headlines Got Coupled Together"

Chris hemsworth’s cameo is the best part of ‘interceptor’, where was netflix's 'interceptor' filmed, elsa pataky in 'interceptor' proves she and chris hemsworth are the ultimate action hero couple.

HEY 1986 CALLED AND IT WANTS INTERCEPTOR (NOW ON NETFLIX) BACK. Shite joke, I know, but it’s in the recycling-old-junk spirit of this throwbacky flick, which casts Fast and Furious series veteran Elsa Pataky as a badass forced to stop some evil mofos from nuking 300 million people. No pressure! So is she up to the task or will this one conclude like Miracle Mile ? NOT GONNA SPOIL IT here, promise.


The Gist: Please bear with me as I work my way through this setup, because the following information is crucial to understanding the many countdown clocks – backed by a very intense amped-up thundering musical score, of course – that litter this movie like candy on the curb during the Fourth of July parade: It takes 24 minutes for a Russian nuclear missile to reach the U.S. It takes 12 minutes for an interceptor missile to destroy the nuke. Eleven minutes, 59 seconds? Nope. Not good enough. Sorry. Kiss Topeka goodbye. The interceptors originate from two locations, Fort Greely, Alaska, and SBX-1, a base in a secret location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There. Now you don’t have to read all the dumb title cards at the beginning of this movie, which stack up like a double UNO deck.

The scene: Fort Greely. Man, blood, crawling. Gun, bang, dead. Greely is compromised. Now, should diabolical forces take control of 16 nukes in Russia and threaten to turn 16 U.S. cities to radioactive nuclear-winter hellzones, it’s entirely on SBX-1 to knock down the rockets. And that’s where Capt. J.J. Collins (Pataky) finds herself once again. It appears to be some kind of demotion, but the woman who greets her on the base says, “All of us girls are really proud of what you did… it’s happened to a lot of us,” so it sure sounds like she’s being unjustifiably railroaded by sexist asswads. She barely loosens her necktie before she’s called to the command center – Greely is kaputskies and now, as her boss tells her, “We’re the only thing standing between America and armageddon!”

Next to Collins are two ancillaries, nice guy Shah (Mayen Mehta), and a drawling redneck cretin named Beaver (Aaron Glenane), who gives off serial sexual harasser vibes and has the turdiest mustache this side of your sophomore-year English teacher. And goddammit if the Greely situation isn’t tied to diabolical forces taking control of 16 nukes in Russia and threatening to turn 16 U.S. cities to radioactive nuclear-winter hellzones! And hey guess what, the mastermind of this fiendish scenario is right there on SBX-1: Alexander (Luke Bracey), an exceptionally shitty white guy who declares with utter cockiness, “Today, America dies in a paroxysm of fear!” But he didn’t account for Capt. Collins, who clearly took the Chuck Norris MasterClass, and has absolutely no interest in seeing America die in such a paroxysm!

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Interceptor is Die Hard on a nuclear-missile interceptor base, obviously .

Performance Worth Watching: Pataky time-warps her performance from three-and-a-half decades ago, carrying herself like she’s the head of The Delta Force, and delivering ripping one-liners through a heavy accent like an opposite-sex Arnold.

Memorable Dialogue: “If you’re gonna kill me, just kill me. No mansplaining.” – Collins just doesn’t wanna hear it

Sex and Skin: None. TBSWGFDAIAPOFTF: Too Busy Stopping White Guys From Destroying America In A Paroxysm Of Fear To F—.

Our Take: Interceptor is a very dumb cheap violent action movie that carries the torch for very dumb expensive violent action movies from the ’80s, but, as they say, with an ultramodern edge , since director/co-scripter Matthew Reilly drops in winking references to every hot-button sociopolitical topic of our current troubled times: sexism, racism, amoral billionaires, #MeToo, immigration, MAGA incels, white supremacy, etc. Wouldn’t it be very funny if ultraconservative xenophobes and bigots fired up this movie on Netflix thinking they’ll watch a good old-fashioned rah-rah-USA shoot-’em-up and, upon seeing their own broken and corrupt ideologies reflected in the villains, end up changing their ways? What delicious irony that would be!

Anyway. Speaking as an X-er who grew up with Chuck and Sly and Arnold and Van Damme and Segal, it’s hard to fully embrace a quasi-retro movie that half-asses itself between winking kitsch and poker-faced very-serious silliness. If you’re wondering if you’re supposed to be laughing at it, just wait until a famous celebrity makes a cameo (hint: who’s Pataky’s husband?), a joke that recurs far past its expiration date for comedy. Point being, don’t take any of this seriously, so it’s engineered to be “fun” even though it would be more actual fun if it wasn’t so damn self-aware. I blame Snakes on a Plane – which also starred Pataky! – for this kind of crap.

Anyway anyway. Interceptor moves quickly, hinges on a couple of absurd, absurdly predictable twists, climaxes with a Plan So Crazy It Just Might Work and wraps with a denouement so cringingly corny you’ll wish one nuke had been reserved for it. It features all the cliches: a big red LAUNCH button (the JOLLY, CANDY-LIKE button); the villains who never shut up; heavily stereotyped evil toadies, including the Asian guy who knows kara-tay and the female counterpoint to the hero; highly inconvenient all-outta-buwwets moments; highly inconvenient plot holes; the protagonist with the sad and unjust backstory told in flashback, and who’s gotta save the world with one arm useless and held together with duct tape; etc. It’s all reasonably entertaining nonsense rendered vaguely watchable by Reilly, who barely choreographs the fighting and shootouts, shakes the camera to simulate action, employs some laughably shitty VFX shots and keeps the endeavor under budget by never, ever leaving the command-center set. All this moronic movie does is create an appetite for an Invasion USA or Commando rewatch, so why not skip the middleman and dive into the stoopid and delicious old shit?

Will you stream or skip the throwback-action flick #Interceptor on @netflix ? #SIOSI — Decider (@decider) June 5, 2022

Our Call: SKIP IT. There’s so, so very much stuff out there to stream, it’s hard to recommend intentionally craptacular fare like Interceptor .

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at .

Stream  Interceptor on Netflix

  • Stream It Or Skip It

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movie review interceptor

What is Interceptor, Netflix’s new No. 1 movie?

Interceptor topped Netflix’s weekly viewing chart, but who’s in it and what’s it about?

Elsa Pataky in Interceptor

Netflix’s Top 10 list for May 30-June 5 was unsurprisingly dominated once again by Stranger Things season 4 , but over on the movie side a new, under-the-radar movie came out on top — Interceptor . Part of Netflix ’s output of at least one new movie a week for the entire year, Interceptor didn’t have a whole lot of fanfare surrounding its debut on the streaming service on June 3, so if you’re wondering what Interceptor is, we’ve got you covered.

Interceptor found itself in the top spot of Netflix’s Top 10 viewing hours for English-language movies by amassing 35.6 million hours between its premiere on June 3 and June 5. For a movie that is one hour and 39 minutes long, that would mean Interceptor was watched by about 22.25 million Netflix users (if we were to assume that everyone finished the movie).

So, what is Interceptor about and who stars in it? Here’s a quick crash course.

What is Interceptor about?

Interceptor is an action movie written by newcomer Matthew Reilly and veteran screenwriter Stuart Beattie ( Obi-Wan Kenobi , Collateral ), with Reilly also directing. Here is the synopsis of Interceptor, per Netflix:

"The last officer standing on a remote missile defense base wages the battle of her life against terrorists aiming 16 stolen nuclear weapons at the US."

Check out the trailer directly below:

Who stars in Interceptor?

Elsa Pataky stars as Captain J.J. Collins, the "last officer standing." Pataky is no stranger to fans of the action genre. She starred as Elena in the Fast & Furious franchise, as well as appearing in movies like Snakes on a Plane and 12 Strong . She is also the better half to Thor star Chris Hemsworth.

Another recognizable name in Interceptor is Luke Bracey, playing the character of Alexander Kessel. Bracey got his stars in the TV series Home and Away , before starring in movies like G.I. Joe: Retaliation , Point Break (2015) and Hacksaw Ridge . He also appears in the upcoming movie Elvis as Jerry Schilling.

Additional cast members include Aaron Glenane ( Snowpiercer ), Mayen Mehta ( Sweet Tooth ), Rhys Muldoon ( Fighting Season ), Belinda Jombwe ( The Secret She Keeps ), Colin Friels ( Pieces of Her ) and Zoe Carides ( Pieces of Her ).

Interceptor reviews — what are the critics saying?

Netflix subscribers have made Interceptor the biggest movie on the streaming service for May 30-June 5, but what did the critics have to say about it?

The general critical consensus on Interceptor appears to be middling. Rotten Tomatoes currently has the movie at a 44% "Rotten" score. Another review aggregate site, Metacritic , is just a little bit better, where the movie scores a 51, which qualifies it as "mixed." Audience reviews on the site aren’t any better — Rotten Tomatoes audience score has Interceptor at a 26%, while Metacritic users score it at a 4.1 out of 10. 

Netflix Top 10 charts, May 30-June 5

Despite the reviews, Interceptor more than doubled the next closest movie on Netflix for the week, as A Perfect Pairing came in second with 14.41 million hours viewed. Some other highlights included The Amazing Spider-Man coming in third, pushing the idea that Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is getting some redemption after Spider-Man: No Way Home .

The other big news from Netflix’s Top 10 charts for the week was the continued dominance of Stranger Things season 4 , which was watched for more than 335 million hours, as the new season looks well on its way to becoming the most-watched English-language show ever (in its first 28 days) on Netflix. The new season has also had a similar impact on Kate Bush and her 80s hit "Running Up that Hill."

Here are the complete charts for Netflix’s Top 10 for May 30-June 5 across TV and movies.

Most-watched English-Language movies

Most-watched English-language TV shows

Most-watched non English-language movies

Most-watched non English-language TV shows

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Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca , Moulin Rouge! , Silence of the Lambs , Children of Men , One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars . On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders , The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel , Saturday Night Live , Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd .

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‘interceptor’ review: way more serious than it should be.

Elsa Pataky leads Netflix’s latest actioner that should be more fun with its brawn, but really isn’t.

Rory Wilding

With more original content heading our way onto streaming services, there is also the worry that these services could be the home of some litter, or in Netflix’s case, films made with the quality similar to straight-to-video fodder. Certainly, with Chris Hemsworth, when he’s not being Marvel’s God of Thunder, he is the modern equivalent to the musclebound action stars in the ‘80s like Schwarzenegger or Stallone, in which he can dish out movies like Extraction . With Hemsworth as executive producer, Netflix’s latest headlines his real-life partner Elsa Pataky as an action heroine. 

In the movie Interceptor , Pataky plays Captain J.J. Collins, who finds herself in charge of a lone nuclear missile interceptor base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after she is wrongfully drummed out of her dream job at the Pentagon. When a simultaneous coordinated attack threatens the station and the whole of America, it is up to J.J. to use her years of tactical training and military expertise to save the day. 

Known for being a novelist on action thrillers, Matthew Reilly, who collaborated with screenwriter Stuart Beattie, makes his directorial debut with Interceptor. The film uses one large set – the titular base as where all the drama and conflict takes place. Obvious comparisons like Die Hard will always be evoked, but Interceptor feels more in line with the American actioners like Olympus Has Fallen , where the absurdity is cranked, despite being weirdly cheap, and yet the tone is way more serious than it should be. 

To give the film credit, it does try to be progressive as despite its identity of a typical American action film, our heroine is Spanish, accompanied by a fellow soldier of Hindu descent, both of which are battling villains who are supposedly fighting for America to be narrowly patriotic, even if their plan is to simply blow it up. With a running time of over ninety minutes, the film is badly paced with the inclusion of flashbacks that showcase J.J.’s backstory, where she is a victim of sexual abuse and is punished for simply being a woman in the military. Reilly is trying to say something, but it’s a shame that the film has trapped by its genre conventions, whilst having a script that is woodenly written. 

Having previously done action when previously starring in some Fast & Furious movies, Elsa Pataky has the physical capability to be a no-nonsense soldier to kick all the men’s asses, and yet she struggles with the macho one-liners that could have been lifted from the eighties. In fact, all the actors struggle with this issue and despite their physical commitment, the action itself feels uninspired, largely coming down to how cheap the filmmaking is. The only sense of fun you can have towards this film is a comical appearance from Chris Hemsworth, who is acting like he is in a different and better film.


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movie review interceptor


"lame execution".

movie review interceptor

What You Need To Know:

Miscellaneous Immorality: Villains are military men who are angry at America and spout lots of anti-American and anti-capitalist propaganda, though they’re clearly shown as bad guys.

More Detail:

INTERCEPTOR is a military action thriller on Netflix about a female American Captain who must fight off rogue soldiers out to nuke America so she can launch some interceptor missiles to stop some stolen nuclear missiles before they strike America. Despite having a strong moral, patriotic worldview, INTERCEPTOR is a hopelessly lame thriller with horrible casting and worse performances, proving that the tradition of terrible Z-grade filmmaker Ed Wood survives. The movie sounds like it could be fun but is simply laughable in every way and a bore with repetitive fights that seem to drag the movie out forever despite the running time being less than 100 minutes.

Captain J.J. Collins (Elsa Pataky) is a female military officer based on SBX-1. Located in the Pacific Ocean, SBX-1 is one of just two US bases in the world equipped with missiles that can intercept and explode nuclear missiles in mid-air.

One night, the Navy spreads the intel that a Russian nuclear facility was attacked, and 16 ICBM nuclear missiles stolen (which is an absurdly tall order for a surprise attack). Then some rogue soldiers, led by Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey), make a surprise attack on SBX-1 to try shutting it down and capsize it, thus rendering the interceptor missiles hopeless. Doing this, Kessel and his men can ensure a nuclear missile can hit Los Angeles, and, then later, 15 other American cities.

Collins and a nerdy underling soldier team up to stop the SBX-1 hijacking and save the planet Meanwhile, Kessel’s underlings punch, kick, throw grenades, and shoot at Collins as she takes them down one at a time. Regrettably, the fights are repetitive, cliched and boring. Every action viewer has seen such scenarios countless times in other B-movies, and the ones in INTERCEPTOR are nothing new.

INTERCEPTOR goes far beyond B-movie badness and heads directly for the Z-grade works of Ed Wood, generally considered the worst filmmaker of all time for trash classics like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. The script logic in INTERCEPTOR is poor and repetitive, the special effects as nukes explode are hilariously pathetic, and the casting of Elsa Pataky as Captain Collins is inexplicable.

Pataky is playing all-American Collins despite having a noticeable Russian accent throughout. One might assume perhaps Collins had a Russian parent, but her father in the movie is a gruff but undeniably accent-less American man. If director Matthew Reilly felt the need to cast her, he should have had her be a Russian hero breaking onto SBX-1 while giving chase to the men who robbed her Russian facility.

Pataky’s acting is as distractingly bad as her accent, leading a full slate of performances so wooden they could be part of a Communist Party meeting. Eventually, the mystery of her casting is solved at the end, when her husband Chris Hemsworth of THOR fame is listed as the prime executive producer of INTERCEPTOR. It’s obvious he must have put it in his Netflix contract that the streaming service had to finance a movie with his wife in the lead as part of his deal to make normal-quality movies for them.

Positively, INTERCEPTOR has a strong moral, patriotic worldview. Thus, its heart may be in the right place, but the execution is just atrocious. The entire movie should have been intercepted before being placed on Netflix.

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‘Inspector Sun’ Review: A Web of Cinema Classics

The newly released English version of this Spanish children’s film about an arachnid gumshoe is a comic mystery indebted to Agatha Christie and swashbuckling epics.

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In this animated image, a man with a thin mustache and wearing a tuxedo sits and reads a newspaper.

By Calum Marsh

“Inspector Sun,” a computer-animated family film released in Spain last year and now arriving in an English-language dubbed version, is very clearly a product of the director Julio Soto Gurpide and the screenwriter Rocco Pucillo’s deep affection for motion picture history. The movie draws on a range of classics, from silent adventure serials to screwball mysteries like “The Thin Man” to the swashbuckling epics of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.

This comic detective story, set largely on a flight from Shanghai to San Francisco in the 1930s, is modeled on another famous peripatetic detective story from the same decade, Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

This tale’s version of Inspector Poirot, however, is a huntsman spider, and his campy sleuthing takes place in a world vibrantly and charmingly populated by a host of ants, flies and other insects, including a locust crime lord and a femme fatale black widow spider. The comedian Ronny Chieng plays Inspector Sun, the arachnid gumshoe. He’s an odd fit for the inspector, who sports a thin mustache and looks like he should sound archly French or Belgian, but Chieng brings an easy cheerfulness to the performance that feels more distinctive than a full-blown Poirot parody.

The humor alternates between somewhat dorky but likable wordplay (“I’m not a praying man … tis,” Sun quips at one point) and some fairly juvenile sight gags, many of them scatological (and none of them funny).

But while sometimes grating, the film is always appealing, with pleasing details, down to its Art Deco end titles. I hope they make a sequel, and just adapt a Christie story outright — perhaps “Spider’s Web.”

Inspector Sun Rated PG for some action and mild innuendo. Running time: 1 hour 28 minutes. In theaters.

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1992, Action, 1h 28m

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Interceptor   photos.

An Air Force maverick (Andrew Divoff) saves a major (Elizabeth Morehead) and her cargo plane from a terrorist hijacker (Jürgen Prochnow) of Stealth fighters.

Genre: Action

Original Language: English

Director: Michael Cohn

Release Date (Streaming): Jan 4, 2016

Runtime: 1h 28m

Production Co: Trimark

Sound Mix: Stereo, Surround

Cast & Crew

Andrew Divoff

Capt. Christopher Winfield

Elizabeth Morehead

Maj. Janet Morgan

Jürgen Prochnow

Michael Cohn

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    INTERCEPTOR goes far beyond B-movie badness and heads directly for Grade Z level. The script logic is poor and repetitive. The special effects are hilariously pathetic. Also, the casting of Elsa Pataky as Captain Collins is inexplicable. She has a noticeable Russian accent and leads a full slate of wooden performances.

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