Written and directed by John Will Clay and Turner Clay, 2008's low budget thriller, Interception, tells the story of a software programmer named Ray Mayfield (played by John Will Clay) who drives home after being fired from his job. On the way, he comes across a nasty car accident and stops to see if he can help. He comes across the dying Dr. Bradford (Chris Roseland) who just so happens to have the codes to a nuclear detonator that his half-assed assailants were apparently after. Of course, once Ray gets the codes, the murderous bad guys give chase and he winds up having to work with an F.B.I. agent named Sarah Bradford (Ashley Morgan).
Ray and Sarah, with some help from Ray's pal Buck (played by a guy apparently named Buck Rodgers.... Seriously) find themselves in a race against time to find the nuclear device and put a stop to whatever sort of diabolical scheme the bad guys have put together. It won't be easy, however, as Sarah's got an evil brother named Jack (Brett Hopkins) who wants to blow up the city and sell the left over nuke bits to terrorists.
Interception was made over two years with very little money by the Clay Brothers, who show some obvious dedication and spirit for simply having finished a fairly ambitious project such as this. There are a couple of impressive moments that show that these guys do have some talent including a few technically adapt stunts, a nifty exploding boat, some cool squib shots and some solid camera work. There are certainly far more amateurish low budget pictures out there that have received bigger distribution deals than this one, so it's a testament to the Clay Brothers that they were able to accomplish this much.
No, onto the bad news. The acting and the writing in this picture are bad. Really bad. Even by low budget standards, the dialogue is terrible, so much so that it's impossible to take any of this seriously. Most of the guilt falls squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Buck Rodgers who is responsible for much of the film's supposed comic relief most of which just seems to involve wise ass remarks and random bits of profanity. It isn't clever, it isn't charming, and it doesn't add anything of interest to the story or the plot. The lead performances from the fairly wooden John Will Clay and the very pretty but equally unimpressive Ashley Morgan don't do much to help things either.
The Clay Brothers were clever enough to use some nifty digital filmmaking techniques to compensate for their lack of funds and a professional crew and it's pretty cool that they were able to, in many ways, make this movie look a lot more expensive than it probably was to make. Unfortunately, slick editing, squibs, a random helicopter scene, an exploding boat and a cute and curvy lead actress (whose wet t-shirt sequence should have been far more revealing than it was!), while all very good things, can't cover up the piss poor writing and awkwardly unfunny and uninspired performances.
Interception arrives on DVD in a decent 2.40.1 non-anamorphic widescreen transfer that, although interlaced, looks pretty good for what it is. Granted, this is 2009 and the picture should be 16x9 and it should be progressive scan but there aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts or edge enhancement to note. There's a bit of mosquito noise in brighter scenes but no print damage, dirt or debris worth noting. This puppy was shot on DV so it doesn't have the depth of a good film transfer, but for a low budget indy feature, it doesn't look bad.
The sole audio track on this disc is an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. There is some nice channel separation and a fair bit of punch in the lower end, mostly noticeable during the action scenes. Dialogue stays crisp throughout and the levels remain properly balanced for the duration of the film. No alternate language dubs or subtitles have been provided, nor are there any closed captions.
Extras begin with a Behind The Scenes featurette (11:06) that contains some clips from the set while it was being shot as well as some outtakes and raw footage. An unseen narrator, Turner Clay according to the end credits, talks about putting the picture together and about some of the trials and tribulations that they had to deal with to finish their film, with a fair bit of focus put on the scene where they blow up the boat and on the squibs used in the action scenes. It's a moderately interesting look at some of the better scenes from the film, but it's still not enough to save the picture or to help you develop any sort of affinity for it even if it's obvious that these guys did work really hard on the film.
Rounding out the extra features are just over five minutes worth of outtakes, the movie's trailer (1:19), menus, chapter selection, and a promo screen advertising other Cinema Epoch DVDs.
Interception looks pretty good considering its obviously low budget and there's a fair bit of professional quality gloss that indicates the Clay Brothers could be a team to watch out for down the road. Unfortunately, there's so much horrible 'comic relief' in the script that it's impossible to for the good to outweigh the bad. This one has moments, but the unfunny comedy really hurts the overall picture. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.