Jolt is a 2021 action film from Amazon Prime, with a plot synopsis that sounds so ridiculous I almost skipped over it completely. However I was drawn in by the decent cast and, despite its flaws, overall it is a fairly enjoyable bit of forgettable entertainment.
Jolt stars Kate Beckinsale as Lindy Lewis, a woman who has suffered from an impulse control problem since childhood, which results in uncontrollable anger, rage and violence. In the opening scenes, we see how this manifested in Lindy as a child and how her parents relinquished her into the hands of various officials including mental hospitals, the government and the army. None of these were able to control or help Lindy, yet in the present day, we see Lindy with her anger under control with the use of an electrode-lined vest that she uses to shock herself back to normality when her anger levels begin to rise. The vest is an experimental treatment and invention by her psychiatrist Dr Munchin (Stanley Tucci), whose warnings about the vest not being a cure often fall on deaf ears as Lindy abuses the treatment on a daily basis.
Encouraged by Dr Munchin to get some normalcy into her life, Lindy goes on a blind date with accountant Justin (Jai Courtney). Whilst initially sceptical and dismissive, Lindy warms to Justin and after their second date and begins to believe she may have found someone who can help her condition without the use of the vest. Unfortunately, Lindy’s happiness is soon shattered when Justin is murdered in a shady gangland shooting. After being told the news from detectives Nevin (Laverne Cox) and Vicars (Bobby Cannavale), Lindy is determined to track down those responsible for the murder of her date and along the way discovers Justin’s questionable links to the criminal underworld and that he may not have been the man she thought he was.
Jolt is unashamedly silly and it knows it. It isn’t trying to be anything more than a ridiculously over the top action film and this is what makes it enjoyable. The script isn’t perfect but there are enough smart quips and dialogue to hide the majority of flaws, especially those featuring a back and forth between the detectives and Lindy as these bring the bulk of the laughs. The film itself looks good too, and with the neon styling and the general plot, feels very much like Atomic Blonde. Although sadly Jolt just isn’t in the same league and the slow motion and CGI on offer here feel cheap and poor.
Other than Lindy, character development is fairly lacking, however considering the overall silliness of this film, this isn’t a major disadvantage. There is also a fairly predictable plot twist in the final act that is delivered so badly you barely even acknowledge it or care when it happens. The cast here is good and the ever-reliable Stanley Tucci is a highlight, but one of my biggest and most surprising issues with this film was sadly with Kate Beckinsale. We’ve seen her kick ass in films before and I was expecting the same from her here, and while she definitely does excel in the fight scenes and the comic tête-à-tête, the rest of her performance leaves a lot to be desired. The problem is the rather heavy-handed make-up and lack of facial expressions, which have left her with an almost constant pout for the duration of this film. It doesn’t make for an endearing watch and without this, she could’ve made this film much better.
Jolt sadly suffers from a number of flaws and is ultimately forgettable, with a rather frustrating and pointless sequel setup ending. However, as silly action films go, this is a fairly decent 90 minutes of fun entertainment.
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A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!