Jolt is one of those movies that turns up on a streaming platform, Amazon Prime in this instance, and you think, “meh, why not”, at least, that’s what happened in my case.
Immediately Jolt felt like the sort of film legendary writer / director Luc Besson would have made. It’s a frantic mix of Atomic Blonde meets Crank with a big wedge of humour, British humour, thanks to our lead, Kate Beckinsale (“Underworld: Blood Wars”, “The Face Of An Angel”).
Jolt appears to have been filmed on the smallest set ever made, you see the same buildings over and over and over. It has Jai Courtney (“Alita: Battle Angel”, “Suicide Squad”) trying to pass himself off as a geeky, ‘I can’t get a date’, accountant when there’s more chance of him passing himself off as suave bodybuilder.
We have tropes galore as well; two ‘buddy’ cops, one of which, Bobby Cannavale (“The Irishman”, “Motherless Brooklyn”), is a bit of a maverick, believes rules can be bent, whereas his partner, Laverne Cox (“Promising Young Woman”, “Charlie’s Angels”), is a by-the-book bad-ass who softens by the end of proceedings.
The direction, from Tanya Wexler (“Hysteria”, “Finding North”), is ok, though a few of the fight scenes are filmed far too close so you miss a lot of what is actually going on. Yes, another trope, we have ‘henchmen’ with one always being that bit tougher to defeat than the others.
However, having said all of that, Jolt is a lot of fun.
Beckinsale’s character, Lindy, has an anger-management problem which she controls by giving herself jolts from an electric vest. As a child she was subjected to many experiments and, oddly, training, meaning she can handle herself and is very quick with it too.
Everything and anything can set Lindy off, from being rude, chewing, talking in an elevator, you name it, she’s likely to pound your face into the ground, many times over.
Her therapist, who also invented the experimental jolt vest she wears, Stanley Tucci (“Supernova”, “A Private War”), suggests she try dating, hence how she meets Courtney. When Courtney winds up dead, Beckinsale decides to use her powers to seek out the man she thinks has killed him, which turns out to be David Bradley (“The World’s End”, “Harry Potter”), a notorious mobster.
The scenes in which Beckinsale loses her shit, be they flash forwards to what would happen if she doesn’t jolt herself, or where she just does it anyway, are done with humour, black, dark humour, but there’s something about someone taking revenge on someone who was rude, just me?
Beckinsale plays Lindy with a sort of nonchalant air about her. She knows what she’s capable of and is slightly frightened of it to begin with, wanting it to stop, to be normal. There’s jokes about her Britishness, she even says at one point, “seriously? Are you going to make me go through the whole face stomping, bone breaking, making a mess routine?”
With the introduction of Susan Sarandon (“Thelma & Louise”, “Bull Durham”) at the end, Jolt is left open for a sequel and more face stomping, bone breaking, making a mess routine. I, for one, am totally up for this, I just hope the set is larger this time and we lose some of those cliches.