Reel Reviews | Gunpowder Milkshake

By Charles Kirkland Jr.

What happens when you cross a contract killer?  If the killer is Sam, the daughter of a contract killer, you may just have a problem in the Netflix action film, Gunpowder Milkshake.

As a teenager, Sam (Karen Gillan) saw her mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey) being taken away by The Firm, a male-run crime syndicate. Scarlet served The Firm as a contract killer and apparently made a mistake in her service.  Well, the daughter takes after her mother as Sam finds herself working for the same organization fifteen years later.  Of course, history repeats itself as Sam finds herself disobeying instructions in order to save the life of Emily (Chloe Coleman), the daughter of a man Sam was sent to kill.  Now on the run from The Firm and their rival, Sam and Emily must turn to the assistance of Sam’s “aunts” and an unexpected ally to survive. 

Written by Ehud Lavski and Navot Papushado and directed by Papushado, Gunpowder Milkshake is an action, adventure thriller starring Gillan, Headey, and Coleman along with Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett, and Paul Giamatti.  This feature is the first film for Papushado since his critically acclaimed feature Big Bad Wolves eight years ago.

Big Bad Wolves was a gritty drama about the revenge of the murder of a young girl.  As grounded and serious as Wolves was, Milkshake is not.  Gunpowder Milkshake is an action fantasy that is just as stylish but is colorful and cartoonishly violent as well.  An incredibly fun joyride, Milkshake evokes the violence of John Wick and combines it with the slickness of Kill Bill

It is nearly impossible to describe the just plain unadulterated fun in seeing a group of women who can kick butt and take no prisoners.  Headey, Gillan, Gugino, Bassett, and Yeoh are incredible forces to be dealt with in the film.  Yeoh has had a career fighting in action movies but to see the others doing the same as she, with dignified aggression, is extraordinarily exciting and fun. 

As lovely to watch as the film is, the plot of the movie is a mess.  Not much of the story makes any sense.  In fact, the level of incoherence is almost equal to the level of violence.  It’s a sloppy, sloppy story that is poorly told.  This is another divergence from the previous work by Papushado.  This story is not driven by a good story.  It is driven by action, plain and simple.  Not that action is bad and this action is slick and well-choreographed.

Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout and language, Gunpowder Milkshake is a delicious treat.  Not much nutrition but oh so tasty.

Gunpowder Milkshake can be seen on Netflix. 

Grade:  B