Gunpowder Milkshake review – adrenaline fuelled indulgence

July 13, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
4

Summary

Slick, bold, and ultra-cool, Gunpowder Milkshake is an enthralling avant-pop western that vaults Karen Gillan into the next generation of action stars.

4

Summary

Slick, bold, and ultra-cool, Gunpowder Milkshake is an enthralling avant-pop western that vaults Karen Gillan into the next generation of action stars.

.This review of the Netflix film Gunpowder Milkshake contains no spoilers.

You have to love the state of action films of late. They are steeped in brutal, even grounded action—John Wick’s set by being a martial-arts Western trapped inside a fluorescent-colored neo-noir. Gunpowder Milkshake looks and feels like John Wick’s sister sibling. It’s an enthralling female-led, avant-pop spaghetti western that vaults Karen Gillan into the next generation of action stars.

Samantha (Karen Gillan) was a moody teenager when her mother, Scarlet (played by Game of Thrones Lena Headley), walked out on her, leaving her to finish that vanilla, whip cream topped milkshake on her own. She worked for The Firm, a powerful crime syndicate led by her boss Nathan (Paul Giamatti). She was a professional assassin and went on the run from the Russian.

Despite the abandonment at their favorite diner, Sam follows in her mother’s footsteps. Under the tutelage of The Firm, she is their top assassin. That is until her last two jobs have not gone as planned. These aren’t men who are exactly understanding. Even if the reason is that she chooses to save an eight-year-old girl named Emily (Chloe Coleman) instead of delivering the money she was supposed to collect.

Now, Sam must rely on her mother’s former colleagues (played by Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino) to outwit her former employer. Oh, and the head of The Firm’s rival crime leader, the ruthless Jim McAlester (Ralph Ineson). Yeah, she’s having just a really bad day.

Director Navot Papushado (Big Bad Wolves), working with a script he penned with Ehud Lavski (the upcoming Once Upon a Time in Palestine), has created a candy-coated blood-soaked fever dream. The action, like in Wolves, can be brutal, maybe even unpleasant, but Papushado’s lens makes his follow-up feel new, distinct, and even experimental; while still making the action easily consumable and entertaining for his audience.

“There’s not a single person on earth I’d rather kill people with” is the closest thing to a heartwarming moment that Papushado and Lavski’s script gets. It makes you wish it was a mother’s day release (hey, we can save that for a sequel). Like most of the film, it jumps headfirst back into John Wick-esque action. While the film’s cinematography looks and feels like it was ripped straight from a modern comic book. It’s slick, bold, and ultra-cool.

The film’s secret ingredient is Karen Gillan’s physically demanding performance. She has taken part in Marvel films that rely heavily on special effects. There is something about the coordinated, stunt-driven action scenes that Gillan can make graceful yet physical. She also combines her talent for comic timing (an action scene with no use if her arms prove that point). With the addition of Henley, Bassett, Yeoh, and a scene-stealing Gugino, it’s just an embarrassment of riches.

Along with the film’s all-star cast, Navot Papushaditso’s Gunpowder Milkshake is a shot of adrenaline-fueled indulgence. Karen Gillan is his Uma Thurman, and they have a potential franchise on their hands. This should also have Gillan leading action films for years to come.

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