Bullet Points: Interceptor (1992)
Quality fighter jet movies that offer something different are hard to come by and heaven knows I have searched high and low for good ones. There is only so much that filmmakers can do with dogfights and air-to-air combat so they usually fill the movies with a love story or a family drama and less action. Of course, the two that should come to everyone’s mind are Top Gun and Iron Eagle. While these are exciting movies, they both feature the traditional planes of the time, the U.S. Navy’s F-14A Tomcat in Top Gun and the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 in Iron Eagle. Only one movie showed what I think is one of the coolest planes of all time, the F-117A Nighthawk. That movie, as you should know by reading the heading, is 1992’s Interceptor.
The so called Stealth Fighter was classified as fighter, but it was a misnomer as the plane was an air-to-ground attack plane. The F-117A was a secret to the public for almost ten years and gained popularity after its success in the Gulf War. The producers of Interceptor jumped on the bandwagon and created the premier F-117A film. In honor of the F-117A Nighthawk (retired in 2008) and the upcoming Hollywood award season (it doesn’t matter when you read this because it is always awards season as nobody likes to pat themselves on the back like Hollywood) Matt Spector, in association with Bulletproofaction.com, is proud to present the first ever and last ever Interceptor Awards!
- The Award for Most Underrated Actor in Interceptor Goes To… Andrew Divoff. This is an actor who has been in scores of action films, a lot of times excelling at playing the bad guy, but rarely given the opportunity to be the leading man. Interceptor gave Andrew Divoff (Extreme Justice) the chance to play Capt. Christopher Winfield, an F-117A test pilot who crashes and is forced to hitch a ride back stateside on a soon to be hijacked C-5 Galaxy with two F-117As as cargo. I have heard the Divoff is a pleasure to work with as he is very intelligent and dedicated to his craft. Runner-up goes to Jürgen Prochnow for playing Phillips, a terrorist after the F-117As and the mastermind behind the movies hijack. Prochnow also has a long history of playing the bad guy but loses this award because it is hard to be underrated when you star in the seminal submarine movie Das Boot.
- The Award for Best Die Hard Clone on a Plane Goes To… Interceptor. Die Hard clone is not a derogatory term as the formula has proven to be successful. Interceptor uses that proven formal as Capt. Winfield must almost single handily take out the hijackers and stop them from absconding with the F-117As. Winfield fights a German bad guy, crawls through vent shafts, uses machine guns, and ends up with a bloody ripped shirt (well, it is a flight suit, but close enough.) Interceptor goes one step further by featuring an F-117A dogfight between Winfield and Phillips. Runner-up goes to the 2004 Craig Sheffer vehicle Cabin Pressure aka Hijack’d. There are many famous films that had a four-way tie for third place that all came after Interceptor and all came up short. Passenger 57 was a month after Interceptor in 1992, Executive Decision (appallingly features the F-117A as some sort of stealth transport vehicle) was in 1996, Air Force One (also features Andrew Divoff) was in 1997, and the latest attempt was Snakes on a Plane (give me the snake scene in Interceptor any day) in 2006.
- The Award for the Actor’s Name Most Likely to be Used for a Bond Girl Goes To… Elizabeth Morehead. Honestly, I don’t know how there hasn’t been a character with that name, but it is something we all could use. Elizabeth Morehead was also a nominee for most underrated actor, losing because she hasn’t been as prolific as the other nominees, but she shines in her role of Major Janet Morgan, the pilot of the C-5, ally, and love interest for Winfield. I really enjoyed the fact that the filmmakers flipped the script and had the female outrank the male and she proves to be just as capable in helping thwart the hijack attempt. Runner-up goes to Woodford Croft. With only one female in the cast it wasn’t a hotly contested award.
- The Award for Worst Bandwagon that Interceptor Jumped on Goes To… Virtual Reality. Sometimes bandwagon ploys work, like using the F-117A, while others are not so successful. Interceptor attempts to shoehorn an unnecessary experimental VR aspect to the F-117As in the movie. While it does play an important role in the plot and the outcome, it makes the movie feel dated. While the F-117A is retired, it still looks cutting edge. Virtual Reality was hot in the early 90s, but the VR graphics in 1992 look lame and cheapen the film. However, the headset used looks very familiar to the current VR headsets coming out today. Runner-up goes to using F-117As. How can the F-117As be the best and second worst? Well, Interceptor, didn’t jump on too many bandwagons and the F-117As were not meant for dogfighting as shown in the film. Accordingly, the lack of bandwagon jumping causes Interceptor to be an excellent low fluff action film that holds up just as well today as in 1997, VR notwithstanding.
- The Award for Worst Dysphemism for the Phrase Being Unable to See Goes To… Flying Up a Skunk’s Ass. It has to be very difficult to not be able to see and I respect all the blind people that “read” Bulletproofaction.com for all the trouble they deal with on a daily basis. That is why it upsets me so much when Winfield loses visibility with his VR headset and says it is like flying up a skunk’s ass. Does he have experience with those varmints? I don’t know why he just couldn’t say his VR headset was out. Even if he wanted to spice it up, skunk would be the last animal I would choose. Runner-up goes to Phillips, the only other pilot who loses sight goes with, while not a dysphemism, the ever quotable “Damn it.” Both should lose points for failing to take off the headset when it stopped working.
- The Award for the Movie You Need to Watch When Looking for a Fighter Jet Movie and You Have Already Seen Top Gun and the Iron Eagle Goes To… Interceptor. You probably saw that one coming, but it is definitely worth watching when you are looking for a solid action film. Coming in at 92 minutes, there is only time for action and it makes the film quite enjoyable. Interceptor falls just short of the top two in the category because Top Gun and Iron Eagle both feature incredible actors and even better soundtracks. Runner-Up goes to another fight jet movie you should check out, Into the Sun.