Meet Lindy, a horny mid-30s English romantic living in New York hoping for a better life. She’s into photography, extreme sports, manners, Star Wars, chugging Redbull, the firing range, rough sex, oh, and a bit of the ol’ ultraviolence. You see, Lindy has an unnatural level of cortisol running through her all the time which makes her hatred of slow-walkers, rudeness, people that eat with their mouths open, and humming impossible to cope with. She struggles to find love with her dilemma, and yet is into rough sex on first dates—and yes, she’s also tried drinking urine. But like with any date out of your league, there’s a catch, she suffers from a little rare thing called “Intermittent Explosive Disorder.” You see, ever since she was a child, Lindy has had immense impulse control issues to the point where she bursts into an unstoppable rage until whatever bothered her is silenced. Little Timmy stole your lunch? Well, little Timmy is now choking on said lunch with a broken nose. Some woman is giving you sass about policy? Now, that woman is giving you a blank stare from a bullet to the head. To combat that destructive impulse, she always wears an advanced custom made vest that allows her to shock herself at the press of a button. So yeah, meet Lindy; she is single and most definitely ready to mingle.
Amazon’s latest film, Jolt, follows Lindy, played by the always impeccably-looking Kate Beckinsale, who is seeking revenge on whoever killed her too-good-to-be-true boyfriend to be. In her mission to find his killer, Lindy begins uncovering an entire criminal underbelly, managing to drive, hack, fight club, torture, and obviously shoot her way towards her goal. Along the path, we get to meet the supporting cast of comedic buddy cops, shrimp-fried rice-loving fatherly therapist, and underworld kingpin, played by Bobby Cannavale, Laverne Cox, Stanley Tucci, and David Bradley respectively. Like me, you might have assumed from the trailer that Jolt would be Kate Beckinsale’s version of Crank. I’d counter that Jolt is far more in line with trying to be yet another John Wick/Atomic Blonde riff—as almost all action films post-2014 have become. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Beckinsale in either film above, and I do think she’d fit right in with her physical commitment, but Jolt certainly lacks the literal punch to get that job one, opting to focus more on Kate’s natural elegant yet feisty charisma over any memorable fight choreography. The whole electric vest schtick is interesting, but just like how Lindy begins building a tolerance for it, as a plot device it becomes quite old, quite fast; there never felt like there was a sense of stakes when Lindy would find herself in a problematic situation.
Jolt takes its time actually getting into the action sections of its genre, preferring to build up more of a romantic-comedy vibe for it’s first act—barring the preface sequence explaining Lindy’s unique problem. Jai Courtney actually plays a decent supporting romantic character for Beckinsale, and for those interested, you will be seeing his bare ass during some bits of justifiably generous love. The two actors have chemistry, but then again who wouldn’t when we’re talking about Kate Beckinsale. As for Cannavale and Cox—a fitting name should they ever have a buddy cop sitcom—playing the detectives assigned to the case, more could have been written for them to do. Jolt very much rides on Beckinsale’s screen time, as I found myself beginning to lose interest when we were following her. Kate is definitely putting in the effort whether it be sassing the detectives, having emotional breakdowns with Stanley Tucci, mourning her recent boyfriend, or just gunning after those in her way. It just felt as if her performance and character were deserving of a better script with more equally badass antagonists and challenges. There’s an attempt to expand the world via supporting cast and their random occupations á la Wick, but it doesn’t have the same air of intrigue and slick professionalism. It’s director Tanya Wexler‘s fifth film, but her first in regards to action; while Jolt is also Scott Wascha‘s first feature script. There is a fun sequel set-up that did lock me in to return, but I’d say it’s more on the combined merit of the surprise cameo they get to usher it in, and you guessed it, Kate Beckinsale’s involvement.
I can’t compare and contrast to the other recent Atomic Blonde riff, Gunpowder Milkshake, yet, but I’m willing to hazard a bet that they’re both quite similar in tone and neon aesthetic. If you like Kate Beckinsale or just enjoy some “girls get it done” plots, I for sure greenlight a watch of Jolt. Just don’t be going in expecting the same level of technical efficiency and effectiveness that Atomic Blonde brought to the table. It’s a brisk 91-minute romantic action film with enough to look at.
Film Studies/History graduate, using my love and knowledge of the medium to pass as a critic. To my editor’s chagrin, I typically like to go over my word count in discussing films. Most if not all my reviews are originally written within an hour of finishing the film, so that I can deliver an unfiltered, raw, genuine, in the moment, thought process to you. My taste is eclectic (both in film and music), but I have a strong preference for 80s Cult/Sleaze films, Sci-fi, War, Chambara, Fantasy, and Psychological Thrillers. Thanks for giving us a read and I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit! Long live physical media; long live VHS. Remember: watch whatever, whenever, with whomever.