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.

July in film: My recommendations

Black Widow

©Marvel Studios 2021

It’s the start of July so that means it’s time to take a look at what’s coming out this month!

Freaky
I have been excited to see this film for more than a year and I’m thrilled it’s finally coming out in the UK. It’s a gender-bending body-swap comedy starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn as a high school girl and serial killer who swap bodies. It’s very funny and really gory and seeing Vaughn playing a teenage girl brought me so much joy. In cinemas from Friday 2nd July.

Another Round
This Danish movie rightly won the Best International Feature Film Oscar earlier this year. Mads Mikkelsen is fantastic in this comedy-drama, about a group of friends and teachers who experiment with varying blood alcohol levels throughout their workday. This film has one of the best endings in recent memory. Read my review here. In cinemas from 2nd July.

Black Widow
It’s been a while since we’ve had a Marvel movie to watch on the big screen! I’m very excited by the fact cinema has recovered enough for it to happen! This standalone movie is led by Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and explores what she got up to between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. In cinemas from 7th July and on Disney+ from 9th July.

Gunpowder Milkshake
To be honest, I don’t know exactly what Gunpowder Milkshake is about because I avoided the trailer but all I need to know is that it’s an action-thriller starring Lena Headey and Karen Gillan as hitwomen. Sign me up! They are supported by more kickass assassins played by Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino and Michelle Yeoh. Hell yeah! In cinemas from 14th July.

Old
M. Night Shymalan‘s latest thriller looks wild. A family go for a day out at a secluded beach which somehow causes them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day. I can’t wait to find out the explanation for this. The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie and more. Shymalan’s recent work hasn’t blown me away but this looks so intriguing. In cinemas from 23rd July.

Jungle Cruise
Another movie based on a Disney theme park ride, this action-adventure stars Dwayne Johnson as a steamboat captain who agrees to guide a British scientist and her reluctant brother – Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall – on their mission into the jungle to find the Tree of Life. This looks like great fun. In cinemas and Disney+ from 30th July.

The Suicide Squad

I’m excited to see Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn again tbh! This sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad follows a group of imprisoned convicts – some familiar, some new – who are sent to destroy a Nazi-era prison and lab. The trailer for this movie, directed by James Gunn, is awesome so I have high hopes. Robbie is joined by the likes of Idris Elba, Joel Kinnaman and John Cena. In cinemas 30th July.