Gunpowder Milkshake: Film Review

Gunpowder Milkshake

Courtesy of StudioCanal/Sky Cinema

I’ve quite enjoyed watching Karen Gillan‘s evolution from Doctor Who’s companion Amy Pond to Hollywood action star and I think playing a hitwoman in Gunpowder Milkshake is a logical next step!

In this neon-soaked action thriller, she plays Sam, whose assassin mother Scarlet (Lena Headey) disappeared after a botched mission when she was only 12. Fifteen years later, she’s now working as a hitwoman for The Firm, which her mum also worked for, and is routinely sent to “clean up” their mess. During one high-risk job, Sam must choose between being loyal to The Firm or saving an eight-year-old girl named Emily (Chloe Coleman).

Gunpowder Milkshake is nothing we haven’t seen before – it’s a flimsy, hollow, shoot-’em-up that’s more style over substance (essentially like a female John Wick) but despite these flaws, it’s still an entertaining watch thanks to the star-studded ensemble co-writer/director Navot Papushado has put together as they seem to be having an absolute blast.

If you’re here for the action then you will love it because the film is basically just a bunch of action sequences strung together with minimal character development. These action scenes are high-octane, violent, super stylish and feature some very cool stunt choreography. The gunfights got a bit boring after a while so I was grateful when the guns were sometimes switched for more interesting weapons. My favourite action sequence was when Sam’s arms were deadened so she had to get inventive.

As fun as these scenes are, they would have been so much better if we’d known more about these characters and The Firm. I wanted to spend more time getting to know Sam and “the Librarians”, a trio of Scarlet’s old accomplices featuring Anna May (Angela Bassett), Florence (Michelle Yeoh) and Madeleine (Carla Gugino). Considering she’s the lead, we never know why Sam followed in her mum’s footsteps or anything about her as a person outside of the hitwoman business.

Gillan has proven how capable she is with stunt choreography in the Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers and Jumanji films so it was no surprise to see her ace these complex setpieces. She brings a quirky energy to the character and has a fun relationship with Coleman’s Emily, who naively believes she’s going to become Sam’s apprentice. I loved that the librarians were comprised of women in their 50s and 60s – you hardly ever see that whereas older actors are action stars all the time. All of the women were so badass, and my favourite was Yeoh as she gets some great fight moments. It’s also worth pointing out that Paul Giamatti is in this as Nathan, the head of HR for The Firm, and is suitably devious.

Gunpowder Milkshake has awesome visuals and I loved seeing these women kick ass, but I wanted it to have a bit more meat on its bones.

In cinemas and on Sky Cinema from Friday 17th September

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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