The latest action movie release, ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’, was finally out in UK cinemas. I’ve finally sat down to watch it. The only thing I knew beforehand (besides the name.) was that Karen Gillian was in the film.
The ultimate question is, how do I rate it? And is it as notoriously predictable as Kate?
Gunpowder Milkshake starts with Sam, Estranged from her mother Scarlet but has joined the same profession as an assassin. She was even working for the same firm. When Sam is asked to retrieve money for the firm, it doesn’t go to plan.
She finds out the person who stole the money has an eight-year-old daughter called Emily, who she starts to look after when she accidentally shoots her father. However, she is no longer under the firms’ protection and has to keep herself and Emily safe from another set of henchmen.
Style and aesthetics
The film is stylistically neon and bright similar to kate but more American. However, it doesn’t feel as tightly knit into the culture as in recent movies such as Kate. Some locations’ streets and outer parts don’t feel as distinctly neon or brightly bizarre.
However, the world-building with the Library, Diner and Private Hospital feel new, refreshing and inject some style back into the movie. Making the film have memorable inside locations that match the aesthetics the movie wants. The most enjoyable parts of this movie are inside the Library, and the shot of the woman in the camper van at the end is memorable and keeps the style going.
The aesthetics and style don’t remain as consistent as they should in a stylised movie like this! - even with Sam’s bowling jacket.
I was going to say it was style over substance; however, the aesthetic is lost at points, and there is a substance in there- even if it is short and sweet.
I also find the camera work during the fighting and the editing to be a double-edged sword. Sometimes (at least right at the end). It’s very dynamic and flows well, even with the traditional style of editing.
Whereas the fighting feels slow initially, the choreography is stilted and doesn’t flow as well as it should. The editing tries to trick you with jerky camera movements and fast editing. Yet, this doesn’t work as intended as the pace doesn’t match the cut and makes the stillness of the fighting stick out like a sore thumb.
As I said, it improves by the end with the big fight scene in the library, but it still feels weird.
Throughout the film, many bad guys ‘Boneheads’ work for the firm, the firm itself and the henchmen after Sam for killing their son. And, being honest, they’re forgettable. In fact, whilst writing this wer8 review for Gunpowder Milkshake, it’s taken me a full five minutes to remember the bad guys following Sam are called the McAllisters. They get mentioned a lot and don’t have a lot of presence till the end. I get why. The film is about family and the relationship between a mother and daughter; focusing on the McAlister’s would take away from the plot.
However, if you’ve got a bad guy, you at least want the audience to remember them. And so we needed more character. Or, seeing as the firm and Nathan are also antagonists (whilst it’ll be another predictable thing about this movie), make them the main antagonist.
Yes, it will be predictable, at least the bad guy would be more impactful to the plot, and sometimes that overturns the annoyance of predictability.
Ultimately, Ralph Ineson plays a wasted character until the end of Gunpowder Milkshake. It is a wasted opportunity to give the plot and pacing a bit more going for it.
I think actors like Lena heady and the aunties like Angela Bassett and Michelle Yeoh knock it out of the park acting-wise, and Karen Gillian is excellent as Sam.
The characters I became the most attached to was Scarlett and Madelaine. Mainly due to Lena Headey’s performance giving Scarlett a significant level of depth. And because Madelaine is kind, sweet but prepared to wield an axe. A great mix of sugar and spice.
I can also see a lot of thought put into the symbolism with the milkshake, and as a writer myself, I appreciate it.
In terms of predictability, it’s almost as predictable as Kate.
- Assassin gets left behind by mum and becomes an assassin check
- Is cold and rough around the edges check
- Kills person who has a kid the assassin will protect check
- Looks after a person who reminds them of their past issues check
- Gets reunited with parent and relationship is sorted check
- Start a new life as a family check
However, there is some subversion. Usually, when an assassin in a movie has to adopt a child typically, they hate the child but then grow on each other. Yet, in this movie, Sam helps Emily straight away. Sam has a conscience (unlike other assassins.) Even when Emily is in Sam’s custody, she is friendly and tries to care for her. There isn’t this thing where they have to grow to like each other. It is refreshing and brings a brilliant dynamic to the film that hooks you in!
Gunpowder Milkshake gets two and a half stars from me. The acting is sublime, and whilst it offers a lot of predictable action, the aesthetic is lovely. Although this aesthetic is lost sometimes, and the action is poorly paced. However, you won’t hate watching it and will find some joy in the film’s emotional beats.
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