Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) Review

Slick but Overlong


Gunpowder Milkshake is a little slow to get going but once the world is established we get some impressive action scenes and it’s fun watching the ladies kick ass. There isn’t anything especially memorable about it but it makes for a diverting hour and 50 minutes.

Plot: To protect an 8-year-old girl, a dangerous assassin reunites with her mother and her lethal associates to take down a ruthless crime syndicate and its army of henchmen.

Review: I’ve been looking forward to Gunpowder Milkshake for some time as it looked incredibly stylish with an awesome cast that includes (fellow Scot) Karen Gillan, Lena Heady, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett and Paul Giamatti.

The movie is finally out today on Netflix but is it worth the wait? Well, it certainly has its moments but I was surprised with how lackluster and frankly boring the first half of the movie is. I understand it’s establishing the characters and world building but it takes a good while before any proper action scenes kick in and I almost turned it off after 20 minutes. I’m glad I stuck with it however, as the final half hour gives us what we’re looking for with some slick set-pieces including hand to hand combat and of course shoot-outs aplenty.

I bet you’re waiting for the obligatory and tedious comparison with John Wick that every movie gets these days… well, I wouldn’t want to disappoint so here it is. It’s hard not to see similarities as the idea of the Librarians is practically identical to the Continental then we have the diner where no weapons are allowed but aside from that Gunpowder Milkshake manages to distinguish itself; where John Wick is set in a sort of hyper reality this movie is set in pure fantasy land. Outside of The Firm and these group of assassins there are no other people; you never see any civilians which gives an otherworldly almost dreamlike quality to it all.

As expected it looks stunning with all the neon lighting and set design and when the action eventually comes in it’s well choreographed and you can see everything that’s going on. I just felt like aside from Lena Heady using a hammer in an awesome fashion there wasn’t much that stood out in the action scenes. It all looked good but nothing really jumped off the screen which made me think “I can’t wait to watch this again”.

A sequel was recently announced which I think is a good thing as I enjoyed the characters especially the mother/daughter dynamic between Lena Heady and Karen Gillan; I would like to spend more time with them so they can be fleshed out a little more. Michelle Yeoh gets time to shine for once as I feel in so many recent movies they don’t know what to do with her but in Gunpowder Milkshake she is totally badass as are Angela Bassett and Carla Gugino.

The villain Jim McAlester (Ralph Ineson) feels woefully underused and only appears sporadically throughout the runtime making little impact which is a shame as Ineson usually makes for an intimidating presence.

Paul Giamatti makes any movie better and watching this reminded me of Shoot ‘Em Up which he did a few years back as it has a similar cartoonish atmosphere.

The score is filled with spaghetti western motifs which is one of the highlights although some of the songs used in the action scenes are a little annoying but that’s just because I’m old and miserable. I generally prefer score or no music rather than songs however, the Face/Off reference was entertaining.

Overall, Gunpowder Milkshake takes a while to get going but when the action eventually kicks in we get some enjoyable kills and slick set-pieces and our group of badass ladies are awesome; I just wish the pacing had been a little tighter and the villain was more memorable. Worth watching once for sure.