The film follows Sam, primarily played by Karen Gillan and portrayed by Freya Allan in the younger scenes. We start the film in a flashback. A 12-year-old Sam is sat in a diner and learns that her mother Scarlet, a private assassin, is skipping town after a job has gone wrong, leaving her all alone. Armed men arrive to kill Scarlet, but she manages to decimate the intruders and escape, leaving behind an upset and traumatised Sam.
Returning to the present, we meet Sam as an adult and following in her mother’s footsteps, she is an assassin working for The Firm, headed by Nathan played by Paul Giamatti, her mother’s previous employers. Sam is assigned a new job to kill a man who stole money from The Firm. Sam goes to a weapons armoury, disguised as a library, to exchange her old weapons for new ones.
There, she meets Anna May (Angela Bassett), Madeline (Carla Gugino), and Florence (Michelle Yeoh) – three former associates of Sam’s mother, Scarlet. They consider killing her for showing up unannounced but change their minds when they learn her identity. They decide to take her under their wing, providing her with clean weapons for the job.
Sam infiltrates a hotel room to retrieve the stolen money and shoots David, the man responsible, in the abdomen when he lunges for his ringing phone. Listening in on the call reveals he stole the money to save his kidnapped young daughter and has to bring it to a nearby bowling alley to make the exchange. Sam takes him to a firm-affiliated private doctor for treatment and then agrees to handle the exchange herself and rescue David’s daughter.
From here, Sam goes on an all-out war against the aggressors and is wrapped in a conspiracy against her life. She joins forces with the librarians and her returning mother to fight off the baddies in a good old fashioned kick-ass action extravaganza.
Gunpowder Milkshake is a pretty basic film that delivers all the over-the-top action you could want. It has been compared to the John Wick (2015) films in terms of its set pieces, which is a fair comparison. It also reminds me of the Kill Bill – Vol. 1 (2003) films, with the strong female leads butchering masses of enemies in a highly stylised fashion. But the rich colour palette and visual style of Gunpowder Milkshake are very different from these films, in my opinion.
The film blends the style of neo-noir detective graphic novels with a cotton-candy colour palette and ultra-modern cinematography techniques. The high contrast colour saturation is incredibly dynamic and a sight to behold. However, it sometimes goes too far down this route.
Clearly, many of the effects are done in post, using green-screen with added effects, and much like Zach Snyder’s Justice League (2021) that I covered earlier in the year, when pushed too far, this aesthetic can fall flat, and some of the effects look cheap and out of place. Unfortunately, this is par for the course with a film like this. For all the grand spectacle and stunts put into the library shootout, a scene that delivers excellent visuals, explosions and action, the diner shootout looks terrible, with cheap-looking blood splatters and over-used hypervisual silliness.
On the other hand, the action is generally excellent, with the girls being pushed front and centre. It is fantastic to see a franchise for strong female characters that is theirs to own and not a rehash of an older franchise. Karen Gillan is superb, as are the rest of the gang, and they racked up an impressive body count, which reminded me of Schwarzenneger’s Commando (1985).
There is some great humour sprinkled throughout the film, particularly the scene at the private doctor’s surgery in which some of the firm’s assassins indulge in a bit of laughing gas.
The story is a bit predictable, the dialogue is at times slightly ropey, and it’s not a film to be taken too seriously. How could you with a title like Gunpowder Milkshake? But it has just enough substance to keep you engrossed. If you enjoy over the top action carnage, it is one worth checking out. It is ultimately a brutal blast of neon-infused violence sprinkled with fizzy sweets and explosions, just like the title suggests.
Well, that’s it for this review of Gunpowder Milkshake!
Did you enjoy the sugar rush? Let us know in the comments below.
You can read more of our reviews here.
Please join us on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter. We really appreciate all the likes, shares, retweets etc., and we would love to hear from you and continue the wonderful celebration of all things cinema on these platforms.
If you love to watch videos on YouTube, then please subscribe to our channel here. There’s lots of fun and informative videos uploaded that we hope you will enjoy!
We have a passion for movies and aim to produce entertaining and informative movie-related content. It certainly is a lot of hard work, but we love films so much that it’s worth all the effort. We have to keep the lights on and make sure we have plenty of caffeine to keep all of the articles, videos and social media posts coming, so if you like our work, then please consider supporting us at Buy Me A Coffee here. You can also become a More Movies patron on Patreon here.
To help support us here at More Movies, we do use advertising in a few places, so we appreciate it if you do not use AdBlockers on our site, as this helps keep a few pennies trickling in. We also utilise affiliate links throughout the site, usually to help guide our readers to places to stream, rent or buy the movies we talk about. One of the biggest sources for movies online is Amazon Prime Video, where you can stream over 18,000 films. If you are interested in Prime and haven’t signed up yet, you can get a 30-day free trial via this affiliate link, which helps support us too.