Review: Surprisingly Funny 'Jolt' a Gender-Swapping 'John Wick' That Thrills

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday July 23, 2021

Kate Beckinsale in "Jolt"
Kate Beckinsale in "Jolt"  (Source:Amazon)

Far more entertaining than expected, the action thriller "Jolt" is a surprisingly funny, engaging, gender-switching riff on "John Wick" that thrills.

Directed by Tanya Wexler ("Buffaloed"), the film sets up a ludicrous premise: Lindy (Kate Beckinsale) was born with a debilitating condition that won't allow her rage to be contained. If she doesn't like something someone does, if she feels wronged, if someone simply annoys her.... she gets violent. Really, dramatically violent.

After being put away for years, Lindy becomes part of an experimental treatment where whenever she feels her rage coming on, she zaps herself with a high amount of electricity to level out her adrenaline. She wears a sort of Tens unit under her clothes, and has a handy-dandy jolt button near her fingers at all times. Anything can set her off, as we see when a rude waitress is victim of her fury.

She is counseled by the man who created the treatment, Dr. Munchin (Stanley Tucci), to start dating and learn to level out her emotions without the need to be zapped. This sends her on a date with a tax guy named Justin (Jai Courtney), with whom she connects, only for him to be found murdered a few days later.

Questioned by Detectives Vicars (Bobby Cannavale) and Nevin (Laverne Cox), Lindy isn't off the hook as a suspect, but she's also pretty pissed that the first guy she's liked in a while winds up dead. She decides to find out who did it, and exact her revenge.

The neon-drenched sets and zip-bang action set pieces definitely remind one of the "Wick" franchise, and with a sudden appearance by Susan Sarandon at the end of the film, it looks like the studio is hoping for sequels. That might not be a bad thing.

As common as this sort of revenge plot is, adding the rage/jolt angle does keep audiences off-balance with worry that Lindy is going to snap at a time that could threaten her plans. It might be silly and unrealistic, but that's half the fun.

Beckinsale is clearly in "Underworld" mode here, but she adds a good dose of humor and certainly uses her squirrelly small frame to great advantage. Her shaggy blonde mop recalls Kim Basinger from "9 ½ Weeks," giving her an iconic look that could serve well in any sequels.

Director Wexler keeps the action charging forward, but does well in the smaller scenes, especially between Beckinsale and Courtney, who has never been as sweet and charming as he is here. Tucci doesn't do too much, though he adds more star power. Cannavale and Cox add a lot of humor to the mix as the detectives, who have fun banter not only with each other, but with Beckinsale as well.

It's a good cast that knows the plot borders on ridiculous and still manages to sell it. The film gives the revenge thriller an electrifying twist that will give fans of the genre an extra jolt of fun!

"Jolt" premieres on Amazon Prime July 23rd.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.