The world is going through an interesting phase. We are seeing some genuine attempts at diversity and inclusivity in our stories. There are stories with female actors treading paths traditionally reserved for men. People across races and sexuality are finding equality in pop culture. And then there are silly attempts at being ‘me too’. Netflix’s Interceptor is one of those. An action thriller with a woman beating the shit out of the bad guys. Sounds good till we have a scene when the woman takes off her shirt to be in her undershirt for the rest of the movie. Because… what’s the point of having a girl fighting if you can’t make her look hot, isn’t it?

That’s not it. They also had workplace harassment and what women have to fight in order to be treated as equals in the system. They even have an Indian guy – Rahul Shah. Naam toh suna hi hoga! Brown, Hindu… and who may have been harassed for his religion. Yay, so woke!

And that’s not it. Just in case the undershirt does not do the trick. There is also a cameo, which could put Salman Khan’s random cameos in Bollywood movies to shame. Why not have the husband of the lead actor who also happens to be a big star and the executive producer do a cameo. Because… how can you let the woman take it all up.

Actually, the first few minutes on Interceptor look pretty promising. We are provided the context. The USA has two bases that are meant to be interceptors for any possible nuclear weapons launched by Russia. These bases have enough missiles to neutralise the nuclear attacks. Opening sequences show the first of these bases have been attacked and all personnel within are killed. And it is evident the other, located in the middle of nowhere on international waters somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, would be attacked anytime. In the meantime, the news is out that 16 nuclear missiles have been stolen from Russian facilities and now they could be fired at Americans any moment. The context is set – the USA is facing annihilation.


But of course, there is the hero in uniform. The one person who stands between “American and Armageddon”, as made abundantly clear by the officer in charge of the base. The hero is Capt JJ Collin, better known as JJ among friends. She is a fighter, someone who took down a top official who tried to molest her. There is just one mantra she has lived by all her life – Never Stop Fighting – something she learnt from her dad. And now she is prepared to fight it out to save her country.

The problem with Interceptor, apart from the gimmicks, is that it does not seem to be convincing. The screenplay is incredibly convenient. And badly done fight sequences don’t make things better. Top it with uninspiring performances. The sequences between JJ and the White House are laughable.

Mathew Reilly, best known as the writer of thriller books many of which have pretty similar covers, takes up the job of a director – his debut. Evidently, he was just bored waiting for his books to get made into films and hence decided to make a film himself. Maybe he could have waited longer… or got someone else to do the job.

Interceptor stars Elsa Pataky as JJ Collins. Luke Bracey is Alexander, the bad guy who wants to blow up America and he believes he has a perfect justification. And funnily, the fights between these two felt like ex-lovers’ spat that’s not entertaining. I know, that would have been difficult to achieve. And there is good hubby Christ Hemsworth trying to add some comic relief as Americans watch the live telecast of JJ and Alexander beating each other up in horror. In between, he exclaims, “get her some guns!” “Get me some Anacin!” I groaned.

Available on Netflix


Buy Mathew Reilly Books