July 24th, 2021
STARRING: KATE BECKINSALE, JAI COURTNEY, STANLEY TUCCI, BOBBY CANNAVALE
DIRECTED BY: TANYA WEXLER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 STAR (Out of 4)
After her successful run in the Underworld series, it seems we are still looking for the next action venture to highlight the awesome talents of Kate Beckinsale. We will need to keep waiting, because her recent flick- Jolt- is not going to cut it. Beckinsale is playing Lindy, a woman not with special skills, not a trained assassin like Black Widow, and not a person with superhuman powers. No, this character is just very angry. People piss her off, so she impulsively punches and beats the crap out of anyone who crosses her wrong. Her anger is so bad that her parents gave her up for adoption and it put her on a path of training in the military and eventually put on a machine that gives her a jolt of electricity to keep her calm. Although it sounds like a premise that could lead to fun action, Jolt is anything but, with a paper thin plot, poorly cut fight sequences, and a wasted use of Kate Beckinsale’s electric personality. Jolt is a big dolt.
We see the brief backstory of what life was like for Lindy growing up, quick to strike a person that would make any comment, but now seeing her therapist Dr. Munchkin (Stanley Tucci in a thankless role) on a daily basis. It’s here where the zap machine is recharged and administered. The crux of Lindy’s condition is her lonely existence, where finding friendship, or love has been impossible. She decides to take Dr. Munchkin’s advice and goes on a date with a shy guy named Justin (Jai Courtney). The first date ends abruptly when Lindy beats up the waitress in the bathroom, but in her attempts to keep trying, she agrees to a second date with Justin for some ice cream. Coincidentally her anger starts to subside, where maybe she doesn’t need to electrocute herself, but the next day, she learns that Justin is dead. A group of killers have disposed of him in their search for Lindy, but now she’s really pissed, and now she has revenge on her list of things to do.
As I write the plot out, it’s not that Jolt couldn’t be a movie that works, it’s just poorly executed, along with a collection of scenes that play like a dumb exercise of bad action. Writer Scott Wascha gives the audience the bare minimum of character motivation. Throughout the movie, it’s impossible to understand why Lindy becomes so committed to someone after two dates, plus one could instantly decipher that Courtney’s Justin character is not who he seems to be. As Lindy goes on her search for Justin, the group of mob men continue to seek ways to get her, preceding with one bland fight scene or weak car chase after the other. Poor transitions, fast cutting, and lazy direction from Tanya Wexler makes Jolt feel like an idea pitched to Beckinsale over lunch. It just never got deeper than that. There’s zero depth to our hero and her motivation for her actions is beyond what any normal human would do anyway.
Beckinsale’s character is also impossible to root for. Unlike films that have inspired Jolt, such as John Wick or Atomic Blonde, this hero’s superpower is being a jerk. On top of that mean demeanor, it’s protected by even worse plotting, and even dumber characters surrounding her. On Lindy’s tail is a pair of police officers- Bobby Cannavale’s Detective Vicars and Laverne Cox’s Detective Nevin- both arriving often after the action has happened, or standing by as characters to be ripped on. It does not take long to not care what happens to Lindy at all.
The execution of Jolt is bad from start to finish. There’s an intro where Lindey’s character is studied behind a glass by scientist and that part has an impact later in the film, implying that a sequel is the hope, but none of that is earned. Jolt is clunky action, wasting a talented cast of actors, along with pathetic fight sequences, and bland, one-dimensional characters. Kate Beckinsale is a beautiful and incredibly talented actor, capable of carrying an action film of this caliber, but Jolt is missing all the electricity we look for. This Jolt fizzles out fast and leaves a small puff of smoke, quickly evaporating into the thin air of steaming action films. I’d be shocked if they make another one of these movies, Jolt is not worthy of that in the slightest.
JOLT PREMIERES ON AMAZON PRIME ON FRIDAY JULY 23RD.
Written by: Leo Brady