Kate Beckinsale is the only spark in this lifeless thriller
Jolt is not a good film. While it does have its entertaining moments, it’s also bogged down by an abundance of plot holes, paper-thin characterization and some genuinely stupid twists.
At the center of of this budget Atomic Blonde is Kate Beckinsale who does her best to prop this film up. Her portrayal of Lindy is actually pretty good, with enough charisma and wise-cracks to at least make her scenes enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of the praise one can lavish on Jolt.
The story feels like a cobbled together stitch-work of ideas from both Crank and Atomic Blonde, but it doesn’t do either of them justice. Instead of adrenaline-injecting or espionage action though, Jolt instead follows a woman named Lindy who has a serious anger issue.
Specifically, she suffers from Intermittent Explosive Disorder. In order to control her impulsive bouts of rage, she enlists the help of Dr Munchin who provides her with an electrode-lined vest that she can use to shock herself into submission.
Living most of her life alone, Lindy eventually opens up to a suave man named Justin whom she begins dating. When he fails to show up to their third date, Lindy suspects the worst. What follows is a shaky-at-best revenge quest as Lindy sets out to discover what happened to him.
What follows is the usual array of car chases, fight sequences and big twists that you’ll undoubtedly see a mile off. The trouble is, none of this is shot all that well and the final fight is so poorly constructed and choreographed that it feels like the final straw for this thriller.
This sloppy work extends across to both the editing and the visual effects too. The green-screen sections are painfully obvious to see while the same two or three sets are used repeatedly for exterior scenes. The establishing shots don’t serve much better either, with overhead sequences blending with some weird establishing shots that pan across different cities.
The editing itself is a mixed bag of quick cuts and smooth transitions, which juxtapose poorly against slow-paced fades to black. It gives the film much more of a lethargic feel than it deserves and ultimately holds this back from being a more technically sound thriller.
On the subject of visual effects, there’s some pretty poor CGI in this too, including one shot of a baby literally thrown across a room. Instead of quick-cutting between the two frames, the film takes its sweet time with this section, crow-barring an awkward slow-mo shot of the babe flying through the air. There are numerous moments like this dotted throughout the film but this is by far the most egregious example.
Meanwhile, the very obvious ties to both Atomic Blonde and Crank give the film a much less imaginative take than it believes it has. Jolt is clearly not self-aware enough to poke fun at these similarities either, and despite some wise-cracking gags and a couple of nice bites of humour, the film struggles to stand out.
Instead of the electrifying thriller this so easily could have been, Jolt lacks any sort of spark. It’s a film riddled with issues both narratively and technically, while its similarities to better entries in the revenge thriller category make it a difficult one to recommend.