From childhood, Lindy (Kate Beckinsale) was different to other girls and boys. Thanks to a rare neurological disorder, she has a hair trigger response, whereby once she snaps, she’d attack you with a ferocity and strength you wouldn’t expect of a child. She became a lab rat and was even brought to the military, but in adulthood she finally found a means of controlling her anger with a special electrode device which she shocks herself with upon getting any enraged or murderous impulses. Then she discovers love and normality with Justin (Jai Courteney). But when he is killed, it’ll take a lot more than an electrode device to stop her on her path to vengeance…
‘Jolt’ starts off strong with a zippy collage that goes through Lindy’s life struggles, highlighting her physical prowess through some impressive (real and imagined, and the audience is always left guessing which is which) action sequences). Kate Beckinsale is flawless, empathetic, and fabulous as the lead – it’s a shame the same can’t be said for the movie as a whole.
It’s a really interesting concept because women have so much to be angry about, its roots in the way they’re treated by men, and treat one another, on a daily basis. At one point, Lindy tells Justin about people’s terrible, annoying habits, and generally hating people as a result. It’s absolutely true, as a number of short scenes establish how people are the worst – cruel and inconsiderate, and occasionally repulsive too. Lindy can’t stand to see injustice whether it was aimed at her or others. The difference between her and the average person is that she can actually do something about it.
Elsewhere in the cast you’ve got Stanley Tucci – who you can throw in pretty much any role and he’s going to master it – as Lindy’s confidante and doctor, while Bobby Cannavale and Laverne Cox play a pair of detectives who suspect Lindy had a hand in Justin’s murder. They have fun with the OTT nature of their characters, but the humour in their roles can fall a bit flat, and from Lindy’s first confrontation with the duo, the movie starts to go downhill.
‘Jolt’ has a really strong start, but then it leans too heavily into the camp factor, becoming overly silly and, frankly, a bit weird and confusing once the bad guys turn up. As she already established in the ‘Underworld’ franchise, Kate Beckinsale makes a great action heroine, convincingly throwing the punches, and looking so good kicking ass too. There’s a big hint dropped at the end that ‘Jolt’ could be heading for franchise territory (which is the goal of basically every action movie made these days…), but if that’s the case, this is something of an underwhelming jump point.
'Jolt' is streaming on Amazon Prime from Friday, 23 July.