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Jolt (2021)


Oh, this is shiny, new, and massive fun!

You know how it is when the anti-vax wing has died off, your only contact with the outside world is family who don’t think precautionary masks have a place in a Delta Wave world, and it turns out pandemics are an aching drag on the soul? You need a fast, funny, violent, noisy and sprinklingly sexy Jolt. Oh yes you do.

Kate Beckinsale comes with a dash of sadness for my generation. There we were, loving her Dad’s characterful contribution to laughter in the 1970s, when, bloody hell, the fates took him before all the jokes were told. And he had a wife and daughter and it made you want to scream at the skies. Well. Kid done good. She also done bad, but what film career isn’t a mix of vampire drudge and pearls? Today, pretty much this exact day, she done good to the point of glory. Beckinsale channels all the edge, smarts, quality timing and knowingly sexy into Jolt: the tale of anger-management on legs, falling briefly in love, before evil forces in big buildings and off-to-the-polo suits take her to the edge.

It’s just out on Amazon Prime, so old Jack here’ll try to skirt too much that’s spoilers. I put the film on this morning, PJ lapels still moist from Nurse Stabby-Fingers’ attempt at spooning wet laxatives into my face in amongst Weetabixy slop. I revenge-sneezed and needed revengertainment ((c) Me, bitches. 2021)…

Beckinsale plays Lindy, a bouncer with lethal rage issues and lovely characterisation. Her triggers come so often and murderously that Stanley Tucci (don’t trust the oldster!) has made her an electro-vest and a stylish red button. She jolts herself constantly: toot a horn, chew too loud, speak in a lift, tut in the theatre, talk over anything Leia says to Luke, and she punches you in the mouth, the nose, the face, the whole head…and storms to the door, unblemished by guilt.

Dates are a nightmare. She normally doesn’t make it to the table. The punches, shootings and stabbings go off in her head before the sexy button brings her back to tortured reality and a run for the door. Honestly, it’s that moment the twat in the cheap seats coughs into his popcorn writ large…man-spreaders and all… Lovely idea, cleverly done…

With dialogue going full wit, pith and I-know-how-this-life-goes-now-kiss-me. Beckinsale gets the best lines, which she needs as the outcome of the second date leaves her on the run, trading car chases and one-liners with the lovingly filmic-and-know-it cops, Laverne Cox (as Detective Nevin, of instinct, control, lousy aim and food) and Bobby Cannavale (as Detective Vicars, of yearning-to-trust-the-hot-fugitiveness). They have a series of chases with guns and laughs that put old Jack in a terrific mood all morning. Beckinsale and Cox end up juggling in slo-mo at one point. The actors, direction and effects deserve their moment at the Oscars… but you watch knowing snobbery will get in the way.

So, plot comes at you thick and fast, with much shinning up buildings, discovering bombs, weird plot twists (albeit some of the biggies aren’t the breath-takers they should be…whisper it, they’re familiar) and Beckinsale skimming across the lot with teeth glinting with cheery coldness. She’s terrific fun. And there’s all the deftly-handled hero-with-feelings-and-a-fist stuff you need to know this is aimed at grown-ups.

Jolt is a very neat package. Tightly directed, nearly tightly plotted (there’s a brief loop around late in the thing that feels oddly plodding), and always funny; no-one drops the ball. From Beckinsale to an unexpected David Bradley on strings (really don’t trust the oldster!); from Jai Courtney as the date who takes the raging bouncer to bed and isn’t shy of lady-pleasing face-first to David Bradley going topless; from Tucci lending science a stylish twist to really, David Bradley topless and on strings. You’ll be glad things rip past that particular moment, but it still made me laugh.

Shake off the miseries and go find Jolt on Amazon Prime. At least in the UK, it’s part of the deal, and payback for watching Bezos blast millions in unfunded roads, railways and hospitals at space. Can’t help but think Beckinsale would have red-buttoned herself numb…but, then, she’s brought the only joy from the Amazon headlines this week.

Franchise ahoy!

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