DVD Review: The Interceptor (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Jamie Mercer 15.09.2017

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The Interceptor (UK Rating: 12)

When the gritty British spy drama, Spooks, came to an end, the BBC struggled to replace it. The Interceptor is but one of those attempts to capture the audience that has since moved onto slower scandi-dramas and British-French collaborations.

O-T Fenbengle (The Handmaid's Tale) plays customs officer Marcus "Ash" Ashton who is recruited to a brand new law enforcement squad called the UNIT (Undercover Narcotics Investigation Team), which is tasked with hunting down some of Britain's most wanted scumbags.

Lorraine Ashbourne (Inside No. 9, King Kong) plays Valerie - "Val" - the de facto leader of the audio surveillance group and Ash's former mentor and boss at HMRC, who oversaw his first day on the job at HMRC. Their paths cross once again during a failed HMRC drugs bust during which Ash's friend and colleague, Tommy (Robert Lonsdale), is left severely injured. Val asks Ash if he wants to join the UNIT.

Tommy recovers slowly but also joins the UNIT, working on the eavesdropping side of the operation, while Ash throws himself full-on into the action on the ground, allowing plenty of room for anger, resentment and jealousy on Tommy's behalf.


 
The rest of the show revolves around Ash then making rash decisions, putting himself - and others - in danger as he tries to get revenge on the gang responsible for Tommy's injuries. This, sadly, is reflective of the type of one-dimensional characters on offer in The Interceptor. There never feels like there is always one eye on the bigger picture, and everything feels reactionary rather than thought out, both in terms of action and storytelling. These wafer-thin characters bumble their way through various set-pieces, culminating in an admittedly spectacular dirt-bike rally set-piece.

The actors give their performances their all throughout the series, but the script and characters are so painfully shallow, lacking any depth or imagination, that it becomes a very sad state of affairs seeing their fruitless endeavours lead to nothing.

Ultimately, this is nothing new or groundbreaking and, sadly, the basics are lacking. All of the usual clichés are present: Ash slams his fists on desks, phrases such as "this is big" are uttered, and, at one point, Ash actually yells "now it's personal!" Val has the 'things bosses in action fiction' handbook close at all times, with such lines as "they want to shut this UNIT down!" and "if you do this, you're on your own!"

Perhaps the biggest cliché - and certainly the largest crime - is the completely missed opportunity with Ash's wife to have any meaningful impact on the story in some sloppy writing.

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Fans of the genre may find something here, but it's a flop of the floppiest order - floppier than a floppy thing from Floppington, Flopsylvania. America and Scandinavia have made very progressive and exciting strides into the crime drama genre and have left Britain in the lurch. The script is also very lazy, with the best lines coming from a direct quote from King Lear, which only helps to underline how poor the rest of the dialogue is in comparison. Fans of closure will be left somewhat disappointed as with the series seemingly canned after one season, there are definitely questions that are left unanswered.

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