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Jolt (2021) – Review: A Disappointing Movie That Relies Too Much On Unnecessary Style

August 17, 2021

Quick Thoughts – Jolt – D – Despite featuring game performances, Jolt is let down by a script that is too focused on stylized dialogue that kills the momentum and flow. The end result is decent, but only because Kate Beckinsale, Jai Courtney, Stanley Tucci, Laverne Cox and Bobby Cannavle (the cast is stacked) commit to the insanity.

On paper, an action movie about Kate Beckinsale going on a rampage because her “boyfriend” Justin (Jai Courtney) is killed by an arms dealer, sounds fun. However, the overly-stylized camera shots, Pulp Fiction-esque dialogue, choppy editing, and stunt doubles who wear distracting wigs (it’s bad), make it an exercise in style over substance. Which is a shame because Beckinsale is an action legend, and the movie unnecessarily saddles her with super powers that come from her intermittent explosive disorder, that gives her superhuman powers of destruction. The story relies on the jolts she gives herself to curb her violent tendencies, but they are never important, or even reliable, which makes them just an element of plot that feels shoehorned in.

Jolt is the type of movie where the villains begin conversations by saying “Do you like Lobsters?” and then break into monologues about them (while smacking the lobster they are eating loudly). After they are done with their monologue, Beckinsale promptly tells them that the speech was “really boring,” which is 100% true, and it makes you wonder why you had to listen to a lobster monologue in the first place. 

 It’s easy to understand why cinematographer Jules O’Loughlin (The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Angel Has Fallen) loaded Jolt with upside down, spinning, and stylized shots, as the script and action are all highly stylized. However, the majority of the shots are pointlessly stylized and they mostly result in dizzying effects that do nothing for the story. Much like Snake Eyes, the action movie is let down by its action, but it doesn’t have any likable characters (you like the people in Snake Eyes), so you’re left wishing Beckinsale had a better vehicle to star in.

It also hurts that excellent actors like Laverne Cox, Stanley Tucci and Bobby Cannavale have nothing to do but spout stylized dialogue, and constantly be one step behind Beckinsale (and catch babies that are thrown at them….). All of the pieces seemed to be there for a fun film, but they weren’t cut right, so the jigsaw puzzle never fits together the way it should. The end result is an uneven action film that doesn’t know what it is. 

You should check out director Tanya Wexler’s fantastic 2019 film Buffaloed instead. It’s lightyears better than Jolt, and features beautiful performances from Zoey Deutch and Jai Courtney (playing a character called Wizz), who are both wonderful and funny.

Final Thoughts: Skip Jolt, and watch Buffaloed instead.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 17, 2021 10:08 am

    Kate Beckinsale is hot and all… but she acts the same in every single movie and even that is pretty weak.

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