By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Graphic violence, language in female-driven actioner.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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."
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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).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman wears an outfit that reveals the bottoms of her breasts.
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Frequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn," "whore," "slut," "ho," "balls." "God" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
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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.
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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.
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Where to Watch
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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?
- 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
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