Gunpowder Milkshake

This film combines a fantastic aesthetic, fun action, and loads of charm to elevate this female action extravaganza.

Karen Gillan stars as Sam a super assassin with abandonment issues who works for a seedy organization called The Firm. In the opening moments a job goes wrong and she’s sent on an easy mission to make amends with the big bosses.

This easy job turns out to be very complicated when a kidnapped daughter touches a nerve in Sam and sends her down a path of violent redemption as she tries to protect the little girl.

The film is going to be hit with comparisons to John Wick. These comparisons are not unfounded. Both feature super assassins, a shady world that exists right underneath our own, and excessive gun play. This movie is more than just lady John Wick though.

For starters it has a sense of humor and a playfulness that John Wick lacks. Gillan’s character is put in some pretty outrageous situations in which she has to fight off goons. There’s a great bit where henchmen are trying to tough while high on laughing gas. Gillan has to fight with limited use of her arms. And a mini gun inside a minivan makes for a very fun moment.

It also has a lot of heart. Sam is a wounded woman trying to come to terms with her mother abandoning her when she was young. The story of mother and daughter reconciliation told through massive slow mo violence is fun.

The big sell for me is the insane amount of charisma on display from the cast. Gillan brings a steely eyed glint that belies her deeper wounds. She has a deadpan charm that carries the film well. Lena Headey gets to be something other than the villainous queen in game of thrones. Angela Basset, Michele Yeoh, and Carla Gugino play three very weird librarians. And Ralph Ineson is wonderful as the villain. He has an impossibly deep grisly voice. He gives a speech about being a stranger in his own house that could have gone on for an hour. I just love listening to him talk.

The storytelling is however a little muddy and unclear. We are thrown into the action, and never really given a chance to find our bearings. There are times when it felt to me like I was watching the sequel instead of a stand-alone piece. The ending doesn’t feel entirely satisfying which makes me wonder if they’re going for a sequel. I wouldn’t mind. I would definitely spend another two hours with these characters.

All in all it has Great style, a beautiful color palette, good action, a sense of humor, and charm all hanging on a pretty thin storyline. For me that was enough. It was a really fun ride, and I would check it out again.

It was my cup of tea. A-

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