- Nate Adams
Review: 'Jolt' runs on fumes
Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video
Kate Beckinsale is out here trying to give Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, and Mila Jovovich a run for their money in Tanya Wexler’s lousy actioner “Jolt.” Not so much running on electricity but lame characters and lamer motivations, Beckinsale has shown stylized action chops in much better fare like the “Underworld” series, but in “Jolt,” a film which Amazon Prime hopes spawns countless sequels, she never maintains her grip. Running a breezy 96-minutes, Wexler graciously keeps the action moving, though after watching a similar title, “Gunpowder Milkshake” a week ago, the aftereffects of “Jolt” spins more headaches than thrills. Can we dial down the techno soundtrack and vibrant colors for a second?
Beckinsale plays Lindy Lewis who, we’re told in one of those abhorrent opening voiceovers, is “special.” Since birth, Lindy has had a condition dubbed “intermittent explosive disorder” where any shard of irritation or festering anger causes her to commit brutal and graphic acts of violence. Experimental shock treatments, in which she administers herself with a button on a keyring, keeps her from decapitating civilians in the nearby vicinity. Anyone who watched “Crank: High Voltage” starring our pal Statham will get the jist and that’s but one movie “Jolt” egregiously borrows inspiration from. One twist is the jolt of electricity calms nerves rather than ignites them, and though Lindy has daily sessions with her therapist played by, wipe’s glasses, Stanley Tucci, without that button, it’d be bad news for anyone who inadvertently pisses her off.
She finds normalcy when on a date with Justin (Jai Courtney) and the two hook-up and connect briefly before he disappears. Next thing we know, Lindy goes hunting for Justin’s kidnappers, oddly bizarre considering they met literally once, and she doesn’t really know him? Screenwriter Scott Wascha struggles to keep us engaged even as Linda goes underground to fight mob bosses and electrocute the testicles of slimy henchmen while dodging two bumbling detectives (Laverne Cox and Bobby Cannavale) who are convinced she’s the prime suspect.
Beckinsale is better than most when it comes to kicking ass and taking names, but “Jolt” is more a concept than a vehicle for her strengths. Again, we have another film teasing an expansive franchise than hammering down a singular tone and story. Nowadays that could be the secret ingredient for streaming services built on episodic television to keep subscribers at bay, but perhaps we should stop putting the cart in front of the horse.
JOLT is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video