Review: Gunpowder Milkshake

Lena Headey and Karen Gillan in Gunpowder Milkshake

Gunpowder Milkshake is like a hundred other films you’ve seen where dozens of men get killed in dozens of creative ways by only a few heroic characters. This film fits that genre. With one exception. The heroic characters are women. It’s streaming on Netflix.

Gunpowder Milkshake is not a great film. It may not even be a good film. But it is a delight to watch. I have seen decades (decades) of movies where men kill with impunity. Blood spurts from heads in slow motion, chests pour blood, bones break, dead guys litter the floor. I really enjoyed seeing women as the ones who killed the entire hoard of bad guys. Plus, they saved the innocent 8 3/4 year old Emily (Chloe Coleman) who got tangled up with them.

Sam (Karen Gillan) and Scarlet (Lena Headey) are the first two women we see. They are mother and daughter. They talk in a diner, share a milkshake, and don’t see each other again for 15 years.

Many things happen in this diner, which is carefully stylized and beautiful. Everything in this film from the sets to the costumes and the fight scenes are stylized. Everything feels like either an homage or a parody – or sometimes both.

Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino in Gunpowder Milkshake

The other women are Florence (Michelle Yeoh), Anna May (Angela Bassett), and Madeleine (Carla Gugino). These three run a peculiar library where the books are hollowed out and filled with weapons or cash or various other items that might be useful in a fight. These three women and Sam are all mad at Scarlet for disappearing for 15 years. She left them lonely and bereft and motherless.

Of course, all 5 of them are skilled and trained assassins. They can kill you with a gun, a knife, a hammer, an ax, a chain, a giant tooth, a car, or their fists. They are good.

A whole army of bad men (Russians mostly) are under the command of an outfit called The Firm. Nathan (Paul Giamatti) heads this group. He sends his forces after Sam and Emily. Soon Scarlet comes out of hiding to help her daughter. Then the three librarians join in.

The plot doesn’t amount to much. Chases, fights, attempted flights. It was mostly just fun watching the women rule in the fight scenes. The women were full of plans and preparedness, which created some comic situations. Navot Papushado directed.

I loved the way Florence could handle a chain. I thought Scarlet and Anna May had been a couple in the past. The music was well chosen, especially the Janis Joplin number. If you are a fan of hyper violent movies with men in the lead roles, I urge you to give the women a chance in this one.

Here’s the trailer.

Have you watched it yet? What was your favorite part?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

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