Review: Jolt (2021)

Never before have I seen newborn infants being used as weapons.

Oh Amazon Studios…What kind of deal with the devil have you made? How are you able to release amazing original comedies like, Late Night (2019) and Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) and then also release lacklustre action-thrillers like, Without Remorse (2021) and Jolt (2021)? By the way, check out my reviews for all of those movies here, here, and here. I don’t review movies released by Amazon too often but I sincerely hope that the next time I do it’s another fantastic comedy. I don’t think I have the strength in me to endure another one of their ho-hum, cliché-ridden, generic thrillers.

Credit: imdb.com / Amazon Studios

Jolt tells the story of Lindy Lewis, a woman who struggles with intermittent explosive disorder. To stop her from violently reacting to the slightest of annoyances and live a normal life, she wears an electrode-lined vest through which she can self-administer shock therapy. When her date, Justin, is murdered, Lindy sets out to catch his killer, allowing her to use the full range of strength and skill that she normally suppresses.

Holy shit, this movie starts so abruptly that it’s like starting with a slap to the face. Without any warning or setup Jolt jumps straight in and buries you in a truly overwhelming amount of expositional information. Without any hyperbole, the entirety of the first five minutes are literally just Susan Sarandon narrating without taking a single breathe. Her narration actually goes on for so long that at a certain point my brain became overloaded with information and I completely spaced out on what the movie was trying to tell me. I was like, “wait, so is this just a movie about her trying to resist the urge to beat up rude assholes? Mama, that’s my everyday life!” This opening could have been a a great opportunity for some strong showing over telling but they really had Sarandon read what feels like a whole damn book on tape. And oh my God, could no one think of a synonym for “normal?” If I had to hear that word one more time during this opening monologue I was going to flip a table. I’m disappointed to say that after the rushed and confused beginning, things only got worse for Jolt.

A movie that is as flashy, sleek, action-packed and filled with hot, funny people as Jolt should not be this immensely dull but here we are. The movie has all the elements to be a lot of fun but when watching you get the feeling that no one in front of or behind the camera was enjoying themselves at all. On paper, Jolt has everything necessary to make it a hit: great cast, original and thrilling premise, unique production design, decent dialogue…What’s so disappointing though is that everything the movie delivers is at a four energy-wise when we need it to be amped up to at least an eight to be any kind of fun. Was director Tanya Wexler afraid to tell people to up their energy? The script is clearly giving everyone the go ahead to be as ridiculous as possible, but I feel like Wexler didn’t convey that to the cast and crew very well. Jolt feels like it’s taking itself too seriously when it’s obvious that it would be much more successful it let loose and had free reign to be wild and irreverent. Really, this movie needed to be on the same level as Spy (2015). God, I was a half hour in needing to take a shot or something just to wake myself up. Jolt needs to kick the comedy and action up a dozen or so notches. And still, even after watching, I barely understand the convoluted premise. It’s actually a simple premise but the movie buries you in so much unnecessary backstory and information that it’s a chore to follow along. I honestly had trouble paying attention to this bland movie which is one of the biggest problems with Jolt. Sigh. At least this movie has the decency to be short.

One of the strongest things Jolt has going for it is that it boasts a fabulously funny and entertaining cast with some real talent. While I had hoped that it would utilize the likes of Jai Courtney, Stanley Tucci, and Laverne Cox to the best of their abilities, unfortunately I was once again let down by Jolt. Sidelined, underwritten, or not showing up in person until the final scenes, Jolt is the kind of movie that drains normally charismatic actors of all appeal. What a bummer! I was really hoping to see this amazing cast elevate the bland material but even that is apparently too lofty an ambition for Jolt. I mean, Tucci is DRIPPING with charisma and talent and you’re going to have him play this boring ass therapist that is hardly in the movie? In the same movie that has a scene of Kate Beckinsale throwing BABIES at a police detective as a means of distraction? BIZARRE.

The undisputed bright spot of Jolt is Beckinsale. She’s great, I love her. As Lindy, she gives her performance her all and there were many moments where I could see myself enjoying Jolt simply because of her comedic timing and dry delivery. While her performance is still a little lacking, at least she understands what kind of movie she’s in. I just wish this movie was so much better so that she could shine as brightly as I know she can. By the way, if you haven’t, watch Van Helsing (2004) because that movie is LEGIT. I even liked the chemistry between Beckinsale and Courtney. I thought their little flirty date scenes were so cute! I was so on board with them as a couple that I don’t think the movie needed to worry itself with all of the action nonsense it spent what felt like a lifetime setting up.

The only shock you’re in for when it comes to Jolt is how a movie that’s set up to be so full of energy and excitement can turn out to be such a snoozefest. Trust me, the only jolt you’re going to feel is the inevitable cup of coffee you’re going to have to make yourself just to stay awake.

Have you seen Jolt?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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