As COVID saw production units around the world shut down some filmmakers decided to sit at home and hit social media to vent their frustration. But others saw it as an opportunity to be creative with their filmmaking. Suddenly, some of the more creative filmmakers across the globe realised that the best way to make movies while COVID restrictions were in place was to come up with films that could be filmed using an absolute minimum of both cast and crew.

One such film is brand new Australian film Interceptor which has just been released on Netflix. Based on an idea from international best-selling author Matthew Reilly Interceptor was brought to life by a screenplay written by Reilly himself and screenwriter Stuart Beattie (Collateral). The film is also the directional debut of Reilly and he does so under the watchful eye of actor Chris Hemsworth (Thor) who not  only produces the film but gives himself a cameo in the film as well.

Plot wise the film centres around a once decorated Army Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky – Fast & Furious 5) whose career fell apart when she accused a senior officer of sexual misconduct. After much investigation her name has been formally cleared of any wrong doing and she has been sent to be Commanding Officer at a remote, floating missile interceptor station.

However, on the day she takes over terrorists attack the other interceptor station in Alaska meaning that her station is now the only thing protecting the US if any country decides to attack it with missile. Soon she and fellow colleague Marshall (Rhys Muldoon – Valentine’s Day) realise that this is a co-ordinated attack and that they are likely to be the next target.

Their worst fears soon come true and soon JJ, Marshall, he nervous and unsure Shah (Mayen Mehta – Shortland Street) and the unreliable Beaver (Aaron Glenane – Snowpiercer) find themselves under attack by a group of terrorists led by Alexander (Luke Bracey – G.I. Joe: Retaliation). They are now the only thing stopping the terrorists from destroying the US with the 16 nuclear missiles that they have stolen from Russia.

If you are expecting Interceptor to be full of expensive special effects and massive explosions then stop reading now. Due to the constraints around filming this film Reilly goes back to the action films of the 80s and 90s in a bid to get this production off the floor. That is not to say that there aren’t some spectacular moments there are – but most are made up of fights featuring hand-to-hand combat with only a few happening ‘outside’ the base itself.

And while the film may not have explosions galore Reilly and his fellow screenwriter Stuart Beattie do the same as what made films like Hunt For Red October and Under Siege work so well – they load up on suspense.

The tension levels throughout this film go through the roof and both Reilly and Beattie are smart enough to know how to bring that about using a number of different measures. Whether it is having tense moments where JJ and Alexander face off with just a piece of glass to separate them or making the hapless Shah such a likely character that you don’t want anything to happen to him everything that Reilly and Beattie tries produces suspense by the bucket loads.

Then there is also the fact that JJ is never really sure who she can trust. She knows that one of the crew members on board is helping the terrorists but the screenplay holds those cards to its chest brilliantly well only exposing it when it really needs to.

Perhaps the biggest winner out of Interceptor though is Elsa Pataky. Throughout her career Pataky has been in some of the biggest action films to hit our cinemas – from The Fast & Furious franchise through to 12 Strong and Snakes On A Plane she has been there and done that – but this is the first time that she has had to carry a film and she manages to pull that off well. Not only does she have the physicality to pull off the action and fight sequences she also has the acting ability to excel in even the most dramatic scenes.

Interceptor may not be the best action film to surface this year but it does show just how creative filmmakers can be when the world works against them. It also shows that Reilly is not only a talented writer but also has the skills to be a good director as well. This is one film to catch online if you have a spare moment.

Interceptor is currently screening on Netflix.

3/5 Stars