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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

[Review] ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ Serves Up Stylish, Empty Calorie Action

Professional assassins remain the popular choice for protagonists in bone-crunching actioners, especially if the retired variety gets pulled back into the mix by force. The latest beat ‘em up features both former and active assassins, in the form of a mother and daughter team, fighting their way through the violent fallout of a botched job. Gunpowder Milkshake fails to set itself apart in an increasingly crowded field, nor does it bother much with the story, but it does make up for it with highly entertaining action sequences and set pieces.

Elite assassin Scarlet (Lena Headey) made a fatal mistake on a job that caused her to leave her life behind, including young daughter Sam (Karen Gillan), to go on the run. It resulted in Sam getting raised by crime syndicate The Firm, shaping her into a ruthless killer just like mom. Fifteen years later, Sam’s the go-to gal for cleaning up the Firm’s biggest messes, until a high-risk job forces her to choose between the Firm and an eight-year-old girl, Emily (Chloe Coleman). Sam saves Emily, making a few fatal errors along the way, which prompts crime leaders to put out a call for her head. Sam’s only chance for survival is to reunite with her estranged mom and her lethal associates: The Librarians (Angela BassettMichelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino).

Director Navot Papushado, who co-wrote the script with Ehud Lavski, creates a pulpy comic book aesthetic straight away. The early neon-lit diner scene establishes Sam and Scarlet’s relationship. The visual flair helps to retain some interest in an otherwise bland and superficial plot. For the first act, as Gunpowder Milkshake sets up its key players and the inciting events that trigger an endless barrage of melee, it struggles to engage. It adheres closely to its by the numbers plot and stock characters, only springing to life once Coleman comes into the fold and the action kicks into high gear.

It’s this turning point that transforms a generic actioner into an entertaining spectacle, with inventive fight sequences that bring the laughs and cringe-inducing action in spades. From the moment Gillan’s character enlists her young ward into taping a blade to her paralyzed arms, it becomes clear that Papushado and Lavski put all of their energy into crafting thrilling fight scenes and gun brawls. The plot is merely a far distant afterthought.

The cast brings energy and charisma where there otherwise is none. Gillan more than capably leads the way, but Headey imbues wry humor to her retired assassin character relishing her return. Bassett brings the most passion to her character, hinting at a history with Scarlet that’s never explored at all. She, along with Yeoh and Gugino, each get moments of intense action to shine.

Despite the captivating action, Papushado and Lavski fail to create any stakes, therefore any real suspense. That’s primarily due to how vaguely written they pen the villains. The talents of Paul Giamatti and Ralph Ineson are abysmally wasted, and the film mistakes facial-obscuring long hair as a personality trait for right-hand villain Virgil (Adam Nagaitis). He’s the chosen tough guy meant to present the biggest obstacle for the leads but never gets a single opportunity to demonstrate why he should intimate at all.

Gunpowder Milkshake skates by on its roster of female leads, clearly having an absolute blast, and a slew of well-crafted action set pieces. That’s all it has to offer, though. It’s a plainly written story full of archetypical stock characters, the blandest form of delivery for the spectacle that ensues. Even still, it brings style, infectious energy from its protagonists, and several memorable action sequences that deliver enough amusing fun while it lasts.

Netflix releases Gunpowder Milkshake on July 14.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3673616/review-gunpowder-milkshake-serves-stylish-empty-calorie-actioner/

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