Gunpowder Milkshake is a high-octane action-thriller by Navot Papushado in the style of John Wick. In fact, Gunpowder Milkshake could be easily described as a female version of John Wick, as there are distinct similarities between the societies of assassins in each film.
Gunpowder Milkshake takes a distinctly girl-power approach. The film stars Karen Gillan as Sam, a professional assassin, and Lena Headey as Scarlet, Sam’s estranged mother and also a professional assassin.
Joining this stellar cast is Chloe Coleman, playing the 8 ¾ Emily, who becomes Sam’s ward. The writers find an inventive reason for Sam not otherwise abandoning Emily, and thus it feels natural for the two to stay together.
Gillan is fine as Sam and gives a very restrained performance as someone struggling with their emotions. Balancing this is Headey’s performance, which is far more emotive. However, Gunpowder Milkshake truly shines when the librarians are on screen. Little is given as to their backstory, but each actor brings a depth to the role that would be otherwise missing with a less experienced.
This highlight’s Gunpowder Milkshake’s key flaw. The film is an incredibly kinetic and visual experience, but there is distinct lack of depth to the script. For all of Sam’s doubts and concerns, the character is too locked down for viewers to feel any of the tension. In John Wick, we feel his pain and anguish, but in Gunpowder Milkshake it is insufficiently relatable.
What does stand out is the distinct vein of humour running throughout Gunpowder Milkshake. There are some great visual puns and quips that counter the scenes of carnage.
The direction and lighting (of all things) are excellent. There is a fantastic use of neon that never obscures what is happening on screen. No matter what is happening, the film is always visually fascinating.
Gunpowder Milkshake is, at its heart, a popcorn film, which is a shame. There are a lot of great ideas within Popcorn Milkshake, although they are perhaps not all entirely original, but they are never fully explored or explained. We never learn how this world operates. For example, the library and the diner are just there, we never learn how they relate to each other. Likewise, we never dig deep into the themes. This ultimately becomes a shallow experience, but an entertaining one nevertheless.
It is difficult to discern what the title means and where it comes from. It could be construed that it is the name of the diner or the milkshake, but that is purely conjecture. The Geek Pride team tried researching what the name meant – it did not end well…
If you are looking for a popcorn thriller in the style of John Wick, then you will not be disappointed with Gunpowder Milkshake. If, however, you are looking for something with a bit more depth, then watch The Long Kiss Goodnight instead.