Movie Review: ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ is a Lifeless Attempt to Hop on the Wick-esque Train

With an impressive cast, Netflix’s new action movie, Gunpowder Milkshake, is a frivolous shot to emulate the John Wick franchise and stimulate cinephiles’ interest. Directed by relatively unknown filmmaker, Navot Papushado, Gunpowder Milkshake follows the story of  Sam (Karen Gillan), a  teen who is abandoned by her assassin mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey) after she made a call that placed a target on her back. As danger brewed around her, she was forced to leave her daughter in the care of her boss, Nathan (Paul Gimatti). But just like the old saying— the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree— Sam follows in her mother’s footsteps and she becomes a professional assassin who works for a sinister and powerful organisation called The Firm. Apparently, Sam mistakenly kills the son of a powerful man whom the organisation wouldn’t want to cross and she is thrown under the bus. To further complicate matters, Sam’s recent job to kill off someone who stole from The Firm unites her with eight-year-old Emily (Chloe Coleman) who she is forced to protect. In the process, Sam reunites with Scarlet and her associates—Madeleine (Carla Gugino), Anna May (Angela Bassett) and Florence (Michelle Yeoh)—who run an armoury in the guise of a library.


Sam (Karen Gillan) and her ward, Emily (Chloe Coleman)
Image via Netflix

Gunpowder Milkshake is a feminine-centric movie that tries so hard to follow in the footsteps of badass female lead characters in movies like Kill Bill and Atomic Blonde but fails woefully with its bland plot and over the top action sequences. Most recent Hollywood action movies now use John Wick as a criterion and strive so hard to meet up with it. I mean who wouldn’t, after such a successful trilogy and with the effective entry of Nobody, maybe there is a chance for other movies too. However, in a weird attempt to copy an old or newly successful genre of movies, most movies lose their identity. In Gunpowder Milkshake, Papushado employs the use of a diner to represent a holy ground where guns aren’t allowed. Also in John Wick, there’s an intercontinental ground which serves a safe haven for professional assassins.

The 1hr 54 min movie draws so much inspiration from reputable action movies that it loses its sense of identity and appeal. It is not surprising to see an action movie with this familiar premise but one peculiar question that comes to mind is “What will distinguish it from the past ones?” Gunpowder Milkshake however failed to answer this question as it brings nothing new other than a blind imitation of other movies while wasting an impressive cast in the process. There is Michelle Yeoh who gracefully brings back the memories of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Black Panther’s Angela Bassett and stone cold Game of Thrones actress, Lena Headey; all outstanding actors that deserve better than just being assassinated by a dull script.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
Image via Netflix

Maybe the voluminous amount of male action movies that are being produced has become such a bore and uninteresting that you yearn intensely for a female-led movie. Here are five other movies with female lead characters that might just hit the right spot:

Mad Max: Fury Road

Charlize Theron as Furiosa. Via Warner Bros.

Released in 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action thriller. I am not a fan of sci-fi movies but this particular one hit the mark. Even with the appearance of Tom Hardy as Max, Charlize Theron’s role as Imperator Furiosa carries a powerful screen appearance, just like any action hero.

Kill Bill

Uma Thurman as The Bride. Via Miramax Films

I doubt if I have ever seen a female lead that vehemently made violence a glorious exploit. One of the many masterpieces of Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill, is a brilliant movie with memorable action sequences. Everyone deserves to see Uma Thurman as the goddess of vengeance at least once in their lifetime.

Atomic Blonde 

Charlize Theron as a field agent. Via Focus Features

Atomic Blonde stars Charlize Theron in an action thriller that brutally captures an impressive feast for sore eyes. She plays the role of Lorraine Broughton, a MI5 agent who is saddled with the responsibility of obtaining a valuable list and also uncovering the identity of a double agent. The co-director of John Wick, David Leith, will definitely be one of the names that attracted people to the movie, but Theron’s outstanding performance in this lavish display of violence is enough to drive you on.


Angelina Jolie as Salt. Via Sony Pictures Releasing

Angelina Jolie is an excellent actor and Salt is one of the many movies where she gets to display her cleverness and originality to the cinematic world, with the likes of Wanted, Tomb Raider and The Tourist, among others. Salt revolves around a CIA agent, Evelyn Salt, who gets implicated in a web of lies when a Russian defector accuses her of being a spy with an agenda to kill the Russian president and cause mayhem. 

The Old Guard

Charlize Theron as Andy. Image via Netflix

Netflix’s 2020 comic book adaptation, The Old Guard, is a story about some immortal warriors who run global covert operations, but a deadly hiccup in one of their operations shows there is something or someone shady who is onto unveiling the secrets behind their mystery. The new angle and idea to the plot of this movie made it a fun watch and of course, Charlize Theron did not fail to wow viewers. 

Rating: 4.5/10

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Side Musings

  • The final showdown that involves Scarlet’s three associates is the single most interesting scene in the whole movie. I believe they should have just included them earlier to lighten up the boring movie.
  • I don’t think it is a coincidence that Charlize Theron appears three times on the above recommendation list of movies with badass female leads. We might just need to name this film category after her.

Gunpowder Milkshake is currently streaming on Netflix in the United States.

One comment

  1. I saw the trailer of this movie on Netflix and I honestly thought it would be a bomb. I expected so much more, seeing how the movie was spiced with great actresses 🥺. Nice review tho 👍🏾

    Liked by 1 person

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