From Israeli-born cult filmmaker Navot Papushado (Rabies), Gunpowder Milkshake is a film that fans of films like John Wick and Nobody are going to enjoy so much that they will want to watch it over and over and then tell their friends to watch it as well.
It centres around deadly assassin Sam (Karen Gillan – Guardians of the Galaxy) who does every dirty job that her employer – the criminal organisation known as The Firm – tells her to do. That loyalty comes from the fact that The Firm’s head honcho, Nathan (Paul Giamatti – Cinderella Man), took her under his wing after her own mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey – Game of Thrones), abandoned her.
Now though Sam finds herself on the run after killing somebody she shouldn’t have. That leaves her trying to protect the life of 8- year-old (sorry, 8¾) Emily (Choe Coleman – My Spy) while turning to Scarlet’s mentors the mysterious group known as The Library – Anna May (Angela Bassett – Black Panther), Florence (Michelle Yeoh – Crazy Rich Asians) and Madeleine (Carla Gugino – Watchmen) – for help.
As a film Gunpowder Milkshake has the perfect mix of style and substance. Papushado creates a noir look throughout the film that mirrors what we have seen previously in films like Baby Driver and Drive, but is also skilled enough to give this film its own edge. With movies like John Wick and Nobody surfacing over the past few years the only way a director can make an ultra-violent film like this and do things a little bit differently is to be creative with their fight sequences and deaths ‒ it is here that Papushado comes to the fore. Be very prepared for inventive ways to kill and maim people in locations as varied as health clinics and bowling alleys.
The fight sequences in this film are creative and memorable. Yes, despite the flood of these types of films recently Papushado comes up with creative ways to kill and maim people while still making the plot viable and better still having the audience warm to Sam and of course The Library.
Once you find yourself hooked into the plot of this world and warming to the characters you are going to find yourself hoping that the producers behind the film can turn this into a franchise. Of course a sequel would be a viable option but given the plot around the team of assassins the franchise could benefit from a prequel that shows a younger Scarlet first teaming up with The Library. Yes, despite the brilliance of Karen Gillan throughout this film, and she truly is amazing, it is Angela Bassett and Michelle Yeoh that steal the show. If a prequel was made about their characters then I am sure there would be little problem filling cinemas with people who would want to watch it.
The star here though is Gillan and she does enough in Gunpowder Milkshake to warrant the term ‘action star’ to be added to her resume. She delivers a powerful performance here and is well supported by young Chloe Coleman who continues to show why she is one of Hollywood’s next big things. Then there are the scenes between Gillan and Headey which again added a whole new element to the film.
If you don’t like graphic violence then Gunpowder Milkshake is not the film for you – if you do then you are in for a treat. With a serviceable plot, a noir feel and female leads putting in memorable performances this is a film that is going to wow you from start to finish.
Gunpowder Milkshake is currently screening on Netflix.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus