By: John M Jerva
THE REVIEW: It’s only fitting that today being Kate Beckinsale’s birthday, I serve up some thoughts on her newest action offering Jolt which premiered last Friday on Amazon Prime. It’s a good thing I guess that the effects of the pandemic has shifted this one to streaming as I feel that it’s not a movie for everyone and it will find more success on the small screen rather than the big one. It does feel a lot like Statham’s Crank series which were adrenaline pumping fun but not exactly mainstream. Aside from electricity though, Jolt is it’s own entity although it pales in comparison to those aforementioned films.
We all know that Beckinsale is most famous for playing Selene the death dealer in the Underworld franchise (I’m still miffed that we never got a proper ending) but with Jolt, Beckinsale has crafted an all new over the top anti-hero in Lindy, a woman who has one major anger and impulse issue. It’s so bad that when Lindy sees anybody doing anything remotely bad no matter how small it is, her urges proceed to beat the ever loving crap out of said individual. Lindy’s predicament is so rare that she’s basically been a lab rat her entire life with scientists and doctors probing and prodding her to see what bakes her tick.
I found it humorous that one course of treatment was to enlist Lindy in the military as that just basically makes her more efficient at doing damage to people.
Fast forward to present day, and Lindy is now in the hands of a shrink named Dr. Munchin, played brilliantly by Stanley Tucci, who has given her a temporary cure for what ails her. It’s therapy where she wears a special vest and when she geeks the need to bash someone in, she pushes a button and it sends electro shocks to her system. Unfortunately, it seems that Lindy is becoming immune to it forcing Dr. Munchin to up the voltage.
Things change however when she is set up on a blind date with Justin, played by Jai Courtney who I feel gets a major bad rep from people. Lindy starts to feel happiness after meeting Justin and she feels that he could be the saving grace to all her problems.
Unfortunately for Lindy, someone puts two rounds into Justin forcing Lindy to go off the reservation and find those responsible for it while dishing out a nice heaping cold dish of vengeance.
It’s funny that the last two reviews I did including this one and Gunpowder Milkshake have been female driven because there’s been a lot of talk about films with strong female leads in action films are flooding the market. I’m not gear to talk politics but I will say that I disagree with all the negativity and feel that there’s plenty of room for both the men and the ladies to kick ass onscreen. Let’s move on.
With Jolt, Beckinsale has crafted another memorable role with Lindy and while Selene is more subdued, Lindy is a polar opposite hit to the head. It’s a sort of macabre enjoyment seeing Lindy do to unpleasant people what we would all like to do and with that director Tanya Wexler has created a character that is more memorable than the actual film she’s in. Aside from the initial plot devise of Lindy, the plot is pretty standard stuff and it’s been fine before but fortunately it’s one fun ride to take.
Beckinsale pulls out all the stops in her portrayal of Lindy and you can tell she’s having one hell of a good time doing it. Lindy is so politically incorrect that you just can’t wait to see what she does next. She plays Lindy with a sadistic twinkle in her eye and as long as you are in on the joke, it’s a fun watch.
Her chemistry with Tucci’s Dr. Munchin is the best parts of the film and their scenes together are brilliant as most of the time, Munchin is straight up afraid of her but wants to help at the same time.
The rest of the cast are good as well with Courtney making the most of his screen time. I feel that he gets a bad rep for his movies but I enjoy what he does. Bobby Cavannale and Laverne Cox get to share in the fun too as the two cops that are hit on her trail when Lindy is a suspect in Justin’s death. Cox’s character is a tad annoying but I had a feeling that this is what they intended. Susan Sarandon elevates the film in her little screen time and it’s always welcoming to see her in any picture.
The action, while not huge or memorable, is still good and Beckinsale makes the most of it and it does have style and flair but don’t expect Underworld worthy epic feel to it. I feel that this is more of a dark thriller with dark humor than an all out action pic but it’s still a good time watching Lindy do what she does. It’s extremely satisfying seeing Lindy carve her way through the seedy underworld (pardon the pun). It does get bloody which is always a good thing as we need more R rated action in our lives.
The film is less than 90 minutes if you subtract credits so it does move and it isn’t boring and like I said this one is watchable for Beckinsale’s performance alone. Unfortunately, spoiler alert, the movie is set up for more because nowadays everything must turn into a franchise but even tough I would have liked more closure, I will enjoy seeing more of Lindy’s escapades in future installments if they come to pass.
Overall, Jolt is a gleeful mixture of raw action and dark humor with Beckinsale owning her role. It does it’s job and nothing else. After watching it, you’ll probably move on to something else but I do see myself revisiting it in the future. It’s because of Beckinsale that this film is more memorable than it should be and that is why she is a star. Happy birthday Kate!