New to UK screens this week is the action-thriller, Gunpowder Milkshake. The movie – directed and co-written by Navot Papushado – stars Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Paul Giamatti, and follows the story of Sam – a master assassin who sets out to protect a young girl from mobsters.
In the movie, Sam is tasked with bumping off a man who has stolen money from her employers. However, what Sam doesn’t know is the man has stolen the money to pay a ransom, in order to free his kidnapped daughter.
By the time Sam learns the truth it is too late and the man is dead. So, to ensure the safety of the child, Sam meets at the drop-off point to collect the girl, hoping to make some kind of amends for her father’s death.
From here the situation escalates as things don’t quite go to plan and bodies begin to pile up. This in turn makes Sam a target, leading to a fight for survival as she tries to protect herself and the girl from harm.
If you live in the UK, and you wish to check out Gunpowder Milkshake, the movie makes its debut on September 17th through SKY Cinema/NOW TV and in cinemas. As to whether you want to spend time on this movie, I believe it largely depends on how much of an action fan you are.
If you’re into John Wick, Salt, Kill Bill, or the films of Zack Snyder, then you will find enjoyment in Gunpowder Milkshake as there are shades of all of this in this movie. But while the film wears its influences on its sleeve, and these are big influences, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of anything listed above.
Gunpowder Milkshake is good, and has plenty of ammunition where it counts in the stunt department, but in my humble opinion, this movie should be better. This is a film which is visually appealing, boasts some thoroughly enjoyable set pieces, and arrives with a solid cast, but at times is a scrappy picture which works better on paper than it does on screen.
In terms of the world that has been created, I can’t fault Gunpowder Milkshake. It looks and sounds good, and clearly a great deal of time has been spent on putting it all together.
Everything about the movie is stylised and this means at times it feels incredibly fun. Characters and settings look as if they have been ripped out of an episode of ‘60s TV show, The Avengers, while Karen Gillan’s wardrobe appears to take inspiration from Drive and (for a brief period) Carmen Sandiego.
But despite this interesting and quirky mix of ideas, there is a little too much style on display, and it comes at the expense of substance. So much is shoehorned into the picture, that it all becomes exhausting after a while and that’s when the cracks begin to appear.
Gunpowder Milkshake is a movie built on cool action sequences, but there’s very little to hang it on. The story is thread-bare and the whole thing runs out of steam very early on.
In fact, on two occasions I had to check how long was left in the movie because I found myself losing interest. Sure, there were plenty of gun battles to claw back my attention, but they simply weren’t enough to keep me thoroughly invested.
If I was a betting man, I’d say this whole project was built around the action scenes, with the story following second (or on some occasions, not at all). And if parts of the story didn’t work, I’m guessing they were removed to make way for yet another fight scene.
Either way, the end result is a two-hour showreel which feels more like a collection of stunts than a movie. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, but the enjoyment factor largely comes down to how much you care.
Based on the cast alone, going into Gunpowder Milkshake I was very excited. Twenty minutes in I readjusted my excitement levels, then gave them another tweak ten minutes’ later.
By the time the movie was over, I was less bothered about what I had just watched, and just happy to have made it to the end. If the film had lasted any longer, I’m not sure I would have reached the finale without needing to take a break.
Fine in small chunks, and there is enough going on here to provide entertainment, but Gunpowder Milkshake is a mixed bag. It aims high, misses the mark, but does get points for trying.
Should you watch it? Only you can decide that one. I’ve seen it once and that’s enough for me; others may disagree.