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Spread it or ignore it?


Amazon Prime would surely like to see Shaking launch an action franchise rooted in Kate Beckinsale, possibly made possible by two things: Underground world the show poops, and the John wick series that poops (or should it be UNpoop?). If Keanu can enjoy a late career boom, why wouldn’t there be a BECKINSALAISSANCE? Tanya Wexler directs, follows the jewel of wiseass comedy Buffalo with an equally wise but certainly more spirited playing, with plenty of violence and just enough Laverne Cox, Stanley Tucci and Bobby Cannavale to make it tasty – on paper at least.


The essential: Lindy (Beckinsale) has “intermittent explosive disorder”. I don’t think that’s a real medical thing, but a movie thing, because that makes her sort of a sub-superhero – slightly stronger and faster than your average human, enough that a fat guy underestimates her and gets his eh crushed. The problem is, her “powers” are associated with a violent streak that sets off the hair. She’s had it her whole life. Flashback to a kid who takes his plush lambykins and she responds by hitting his head with a baseball bat. Growing up, she was hired and drugged and isolated, and everything ruined her; spot a scene of teenage Lindy shooting a poor caregiver. She tried the army, but it didn’t help either. Thank Jebus for Dr Munchin (Tucci), a psychologist who designed her an electrodes vest connected to a button so that she could self-administer a [INSERT MOVIE TITLE HERE] whenever she feels that violent impulse. It is “barbaric but effective”, explains the voice-over of Susan Sarandon.

We see Lindy in the street thinking and punching various holes in the throat, but it’s just fantasy. In reality, she envisions it and submits to submission, is that how the film can be violent without being violent, in a way? She walks into a restaurant on a date, but is embittered by everyone around her. “I hate people,” she said, trying to pull back, but he’s constantly charming. Would you ditch Sam Worthington wearing dorky glasses because of your psychological damage? No, probably not, and that’s when I realized it wasn’t Sam Worthington, but Jai Courtney, a mistake anyone could make. Anyway, Jai Courtney plays Justin, a very nice guy. An accountant. Sensitive. Clever. Lindy reluctantly sits down and they deal with a posh waitress and she goes to the bathroom and hears the same waitress bitching on her and Justin so she presses the button and it doesn’t work and so she presents the waitress head to the tile seven or eight times.

She returns to the Tucci-doc to have the zapper fixed, and he says she should try again with Justin because a little human touch would do her good. “A penis won’t cure me,” she says dryly, but tries again. And hey guess what, Justin’s penis kinda heals her. He says all it takes about his condition and his electrode vest, and he gently removes it before they darkness lure, and somehow she spends the night without losing her temper and puncturing his spleen with a butter knife. Maybe all she needed was The Big O. (And maybe another.) (Probably another.) (ABSOLUTELY another.) The next day he promises to cook her dinner and she’s crazy. of joy. In seventh heaven. The apple of a stricken bird bug. There is a spring in his approach. But he doesn’t call, and that’s when she finds out he’s been murdered. Salvation. Too bad for anger management.

Jerk (2021)
Photo: Everett Collection

What movies will this remind you of? : Shaking is salt or Lucy channeled through Wick, and it’s a shame that it comes a week after the launch of Netflix Milkshakes with powder, or Gunpy Milks please. I also counted several Fight Clubisms, from the sarcastic voiceover to the exploding apartment to a scene set in a veritable underground bare-handed boxing joint.

Performances to watch: I love Beckinsale’s presence on screen. She is certainly overqualified to play the secretly injured badass who hides her emotional vulnerability under violent impulses and sarcasm. But the character is very lightly subscribed, and she doesn’t quite use her charisma to squeeze the project out of mediocrity.

Memorable dialogue: Lindy warns Cannavale’s cop character not to even try to stop him, “Oh, don’t bother. I’m gonna run away and you’re gonna get emasculated trying to catch me.

Gender and skin: Stylized nooks bathed in neon lights, a crotchless face just out of the frame, a quick shot of Courtney’s double ass.

Our opinion : So, I guess the question is whether Lindy will shift the course to a newly restrained version of herself that leaves room for grief, or whether she’ll just indulge in the wildly aggressive and violent nature that she is. she knows so well. And that’s not really a question, because Shaking really isn’t in the business of delivering too many surprises, and all that sassy attitude and wild style up front lets us know it’s going to be a picture of violent revenge. Or maybe it’s a satire on a violent revenge thriller, or a comic book movie, flowing with the blood of a broken heart, like poor John Wick, understandably upset by his dog. It’s a perfectly reasonable blend of tones that works in spurts, with the film never completely squeezing the juicy pulp out of the bark genre.

Good: Shaking lasts 82 minutes, not counting the end credits, and Beckinsale makes his way through a functional joke that Justin wasn’t REALLY her boyfriend because he was too early in the relationship to involve such a level. commitment. The bad: he skims on character development and doesn’t make the most of Cannavale as a good cop and Fox as a bad cop; they’re meant to be the color here, and their jokes are awkward and undercooked. (Meanwhile, Tucci makes his way through the movie, as he always does.) But I guess it’s somewhat refreshing as a result of Gunpy Milks, which overdoes it and swells to nearly two hours.

So what’s the happy medium between 82 and 122 minutes? John wick at 101 minutes, and his commitment to stubborn brutality via visual dexterity. Wexler gets angry Shaking with uplifting fight choreography and mad virtuoso shot as Lindy escapes from the sleeping bag by rushing through the crowded halls of the hospital. But there’s also a bit of a goofy, artificial baby in the hospital nursery, and a big melee showdown between a host of baddies and Beckinsale’s all-too-obvious stunt double. Plus, the plot really spoils the ball down the stretch, and not just because it so presumptuously sets up a sequel. The movie is so much of a mixed bag, with times to love and times to dislike, but nothing to really like or really dislike.

Our call: Stream it. As imperfect as it may be, Shaking has a lot of pizzazz and very little fat, and is preferable to overloaded Gunpy Milks, if you are looking for a Women’s Spark Plug Clobberathon.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work on johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Flux Shaking on Amazon Prime

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