Interceptor Proves That Elsa Pataky Should Be the Next Big Action Movie Star

The Netflix movie Interceptor follows the familiar path of the one-man-wrecking-crew action films of the eighties such as Die Hard, Passenger 57 and Under Siege. What is not common among action films of the eighties is that this is the story of a one-woman-wrecking crew, starring Elsa Pataky as the woman who just won’t stop fighting.

Australian author Matthew Reilly makes his directing debut with interceptor, competently setting the stage to tell the story of a modern terrorist attack that he wrote himself. Reilly also co-wrote the screenplay, teaming up with seasoned writer Stuart Beattie, whose writing credits include the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the movie collateraland more recently, four episodes of the successful Obi-Wan Kenobi series.


while Interceptor is unlikely to be nominated for any major writing or directing awards, it does give viewers the chance to watch Elsa Pataky in the role of the unexpected hero who thwarts the elaborate, evil plans of sophisticated terrorists. It also gives the action movie-loving world a look at her potential for even greater things in the future.

Elsa Pataky Brings a Big Presence to the Big Screen

For Elsa Pataky, her lead role in Interceptor was a big step forward. Millions of viewers have enjoyed watching her supporting role performances in four of The Fast and the Furious movies and in the Netflix series Tideland. but in interceptor, she is asked to carry the film from start to finish. This is something not every actor has the charisma or confidence to pull off. Pataky was up to the task, showing us why her studio believed in her and why audiences can believe she has the potential to be the next action movie star.

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The criteria for an action movie star begins with an undeniable physical presence. Whether it’s portraying the highest level of hand-to-hand combat, or simply the ability to endure a beating and get back up off the ground, the action film requires the audience to not only admire the physical talents of the star, but accept the often enhanced action that the lead character has to somehow make work. Pataky is a natural at this, strong and agile and trained enough to make her smaller stature a credible asset rather than a distracting shortcoming. Interceptor runs her through the entire physical gamut, from brawling with bruising giants to knife fights and gunplay, from fixing bullet wounds with duct tape to martial arts and monkey bars. Through it all, Pataky is entirely convincing.

The Small Gestures and Big Intensity of Elsa Pataky

Another attribute of the action movie star is the ability to coolly respond to the taunts, quips, and setbacks that plague every action hero’s agonizing journey to prevail in the end. Whether it’s the “haven’t you had enough” eye-roll or the “I’m going to have to tear your heart out now” sneer, how the hero reacts to the action and interplay throughout the story can evoke real laughs, produce real cheers, and win the hearts of the audience. Pataky shows she has a subtle flair for the heroic response. Her calculating pause when a second cutting torch is introduced by the bad guys, or her practical moment of blowing stray hair from her face as she waits for the next round of the fight to begin are perfectly timed and genuinely endearing.

Perhaps Pataky’s strongest action hero attribute is her raw intensity. An action hero needs to be able to turn on the intimidation factor at will. On screen, this seems like Pataky’s natural state. When she speaks, her intelligence is obvious, and there’s never a doubt that her words are important. When she asks questions, her questions seem profound. When she glares, it comes from a place of absolute conviction, as if she has every right to be both judge and jury in every situation. This is a quality that has allowed actors like Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, and Christian Bale to command the scenes they perform in, and in interceptor, Pataky shows she can walk into a room and own it.

If there’s a quality Pataky brings to the screen that is rare even among the most tried and true action stars, it’s emotional sincerity. The stakes have to be high in action films, and most actors portraying reluctant heroes are asked to take a challenging emotional journey. This road usually begins with establishing what is normal for the character — tough city cop, grieving parent, or, as in the case of interceptor, wronged military officer — and then moves to the surprise of the threat or the horror of the atrocity, followed by the gritty determination of the hero, followed by true vulnerability or loss that leads to righteous anger, and ending with a sense of triumph and relief .

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In a role traditionally dominated by male actors, anger has usually been the peak of action hero performances while vulnerability or sorrow has been a traditional weakness. In interceptor, Pataky shows a real talent for the tender side. Her moments of pleading or grief are heartfelt, and give those difficult parts of the action story a greater than usual impact.

Big Things are On the Way for Elsa Pataky

No doubt being the mother of three children with husband Chris Hemsworth limits the amount of projects that Pataky and her husband can dedicate themselves to. However, after starring in interceptor, she has gone on to take a significant role in the upcoming Russell Crowe movie poker face, as well as accepting a role in a modern-day screen version of carmen. But fans of both Interceptor and the action genre are longing to see those special talents of hers that are so well-suited for action movies realized on the big screen.

Interceptor was a great step forward for Elsa Pataky, but it still feels like just the tip of the iceberg for her potential as an action movie star. Strong scripts with rich ensemble casts in the hands of veteran action directors could propel Pataky toward even bigger and better lead roles in cutting edge action films and action franchises. Let’s hope the opportunity for Elsa Pataky to live up to her action movie star potential comes quickly.

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