Jolt: Film Review


Courtesy of Amazon Studios

I’m a big fan of Kate Beckinsale’s sense of humour and her hilarious Instagram account so I was excited to see her lead this high-concept action-comedy but sadly it’s just not very good.

Beckinsale stars as Lindy, who has unnaturally high levels of cortisol in her body so she feels her emotions more keenly than normal – she snaps over the smallest things, has serious anger management and impulse control issues, and often visualises how she’ll beat up/kill the latest person to piss her off. Her psychiatrist Dr. Munchin (Stanley Tucci) has designed a device that sends electric shocks throughout her body at the touch of a button to stop her acting on her rage. Munchin advises her to try dating so she meets Justin (Jai Courtney) and he seems perfect. However, much to Lindy’s despair, Justin is murdered before their third date night – so she becomes hell-bent on getting revenge.

The concept is silly and fun and the film doesn’t take itself seriously at all. The beginning seemed promising and I loved the comical montage moments of Lindy’s violent impulses and her visualisations of how she’ll act on her anger. I also enjoyed the witty, cheeky and risque script, with my particular favourite lines being Lindy saying “penis is not going to fix me” and that Justin’s “unfurled itself like a travel umbrella”. I snorted quite loudly at those two.

I don’t know if it was a case of the novelty wearing off (very quickly) or if the film just rapidly declined in quality, but from Justin’s murder onwards, it just becomes really bad. I couldn’t tell if they were going for a “so bad it’s good” angle or if director Tanya Wexler wanted over-the-top hammy acting and action scenes that felt proper budget. It also really bugged me that the New York street scenes looked so fake; you could tell it was a backlot, and there were a couple of scenes so obviously filmed on London’s Southbank. The sets didn’t come to life at all.

As you’d expect, we follow Lindy as she formulaically goes through a run of bad guys, hurting them or worse to get to the big bad, the one who killed Justin, although she has the added headache of Detectives Nevin and Vicars (Laverne Cox and Bobby Cannavale) getting in the way. There aren’t any stakes because you know Lindy will always come out on top, but it was still enjoyable watching Beckinsale kick ass once again.

I hardly ever call for films to be longer but an extra 5-10 minutes was very much needed. This film zips by at only 90 minutes but it really bodges the twist. It is hammy as hell and also happens too quickly so nothing was explained properly. The pay-off didn’t feel earned or make a ton of sense and just felt rushed.

I love that Beckinsale got to use her kickass physical skills with her cheeky rude sense of humour and the role suited her perfectly. I enjoyed the fact she got to use her British accent but it weirdly sounded fake even though I know it’s not. But the acting in general isn’t great and at times I couldn’t tell if the cast were taking it seriously or not? Or if it was supposed to be deliberately bad? Cox doesn’t come off well, and Cannavale isn’t too bad but I’m surprised he’s in it full stop.

There is plenty to enjoy about this lightweight action-comedy, particularly in the first half hour, but otherwise I was just shocked and bewildered by how cheap it all felt. And whether you like it or not, it certainly seems like there’s gonna be more!

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 23rd July

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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