Jolt, review: a laughably bad Crank rip-off – Kate Beckinsale, be ashamed
Dir: Tanya Wexler. Cert: 16+, 91 mins
You wouldn’t like Lindy Lewis when she’s angry. Or when she isn’t, in fact. Played by Kate Beckinsale, the heroine of Jolt is one of the most unbearable and fraudulent action leads in aeons – an all-smirking, all-cursing ladette relic on a life-or-death crusade that doesn’t add up in any respect.
Lindy has been afflicted since birth with a condition known as “intermittent explosive disorder”, where the merest flicker of irritation causes her to commit acts of super-powered violence. (Let’s hope she never sees the film.) She keeps these impulses at bay with ad hoc shock-treatments, self-administered via a switch on a keyring that connects to a web of wires fastened to her torso.
The premise is essentially a female-led spin on Crank: High Voltage, the riotous 2009 action sequel in which Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios had to constantly electrocute himself in order to survive. Jolt’s Lindy is in a similar fix, although here, the electrocutions calm her down rather than psych her up. Another crucial difference is that while both of the Crank films were viscerally funny and genuinely transgressive, Jolt feels like the kind of drably cynical, button-pushing exercise that only exists because someone in a boardroom said: “Let’s make a female-led Crank.”
It was written by Scott Wascha and directed by Tanya Wexler, whose 2012 period comedy Hysteria was one of those films whose awfulness seemed to come from nowhere, blindsiding you with the force of a runaway cement-mixer. In this one’s defence, at least it immediately looks as bad as it is.
Stanley Tucci – why? – plays Lindy’s psychiatrist Dr Munchin, who suggests her condition might be alleviated by some romance. A date with a charming if mysterious accountant called Justin (Jai Courtney) goes well enough to lead to a second. But before their third he vanishes, seemingly snatched by the mob. So Lindy goes into underworld avenger mode, hacking phones and cracking skulls in an attempt to solve Justin’s disappearance, while evading the goonish cops (Bobby Cannavale and Laverne Cox) who have her pegged as chief suspect.