With an all-star cast like Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Paul Giamatti. Gunpowder Milkshake seems like a dream for any genre of film, let alone an action movie. The Netflix exclusive, directed by Navot Papushado. It tells the story of Sam (Gillan), a highly-skilled assassin begrudgingly following in her mother Scarlet’s (Headey) footsteps. Working as the top gun for a clandestine group called The Firm. However, while she’s very good at her job, she’s terrible at working through her admittedly understandable parental issues stemming from Scarlet being absent throughout most of her life. So when a job goes wrong, she finds herself having to protect a young girl named Emily (Chloe Coleman). She has to deal with her issues head-on. So when not only protect the girl but survive the night against the numerous factions to get them.
If you enjoyed recent action films like Black Widow, you’d find something to like here. However, Gunpowder Milkshake plays with a harder edge than Widow. Some familiar emotional plot beats involving estranged family, past sins, and they want to be a better person. Speaking of moves, Gunpowder Milkshake is fast-paced. While the world-building is pretty straightforward, the circumstances Sam often finds herself in feel like she stepped into a movie that’s already happened and blew it away with her own story.
Each section of the film feels like an issue of a comic book that doesn’t exist. Which helps push the 1 hour and 45-minute runtime along. There isn’t much that feels redundant or a waste of time. The world built around Sam is somewhere between John Wick, Police Story, and The Transporter. Every fight playing out like a bloody ballet. My favourite is a fight at a bowling alley before Sam meets Emily. And the fight where Sam has to get creative after temporarily losing the use of her arms.
While there’s still a lot of cheesy comedy at play, it’s nice to see Gillan in a full-on action role. She’s shown her stuff before as Nebula in the MCU and Ruby Roundhouse in the Jumanji series. But Gunpowder Milkshake feels like someone took a look at her in those roles and said, “Holy shit, give her a whole movie of this!”
In addition to Gillan’s performance as Sam, every other lead actress gets their time to shine as a badass throughout the film. However, Scarlet and the sisterhood of librarians manage to steal the show a few times. Particularly during the penultimate shootout scene. Chloe Coleman seems to be getting the hang of being the kid’s sidekick. While this is much more intense than her previous movie, My Spy, Coleman is excellent as the surprisingly chill Emily. She quickly comes to idolize Sam and wishes to be her apprentice. Much to the assassin’s chagrin.
The trailer definitely shows a lot of what was in the movie. But they managed to keep a few key surprises hidden. The first of which sets up the tension for the rest of the movie and builds heavily upon Sam’s emotional arc. Gunpowder Milkshake ends up being a bit predictable plot-wise outside of those surprises. But that’s never been a problem for me. As the spectacle of it all was still wonderful to see.
It’s a colourful plot, violent, bloody good time that makes for a great watch. With a sequel stinger and a second movie already confirmed, it looks like we’ll be seeing more of action star Karen Gillan soon enough. If you’re a fan of gunfights, martial arts, car chases and Karen Gillan in a cool jacket, check out Gunpowder Milkshake. Suppose you want to see Lena Headey jumping across a desk with guns drawn, Angela Bassett breaking a guy’s face with a hammer, Michelle Yeow kicking ass with a chain or Carla Gugino wielding a Gatling gun. In that case, this is undoubtedly a movie for you. It’s an impressive little action thriller with some excellent comedic bits and a lot of heart. It’s great for a movie night in or if your local theatre is still not an option. Check it out now on Netflix.
Assuming the entire cast returns for a sequel, what other action-leading ladies would you like to see added to the next Gunpowder Milkshake movie? Comment below after seeing the movie to let us know who you’d like to see star alongside Gillan and Coleman in the next film.
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