Gunpowder Milkshake is a wonderful mixture of many action movies we’ve seen before. Take a scoop of John Wick and a scoop Kill Bill, put it in fresh John Woo Hong Kong action flick milk and then after it’s done, you dab a little bit of Tarantino flavoring with John Cassavettes’ Gloria whip cream on the top and put a little cherry of Sergio Leone on the top and voila, it’s a dessert for any movie fan.
The plot deals with Karen Gillan as a contract killer named Sam, who works for The Firm. She was abandoned as young tween by her mother, Scarlet (Lena Hadley), and raised by Nathan (Paul Giamatti), who is a manager in The Firm.
Sam has killed some goons, one of them unknowingly is the son of a crime boss, Jim McAlester (Ralph Ineson), who vows revenge. At the same time, she is sent on a mission to retrieve some stolen money at a hotel where she shoots David (Samuel Anderson), the man responsible, in the stomach. But what she finds out that David stole the money as some men have kidnapped his daughter, Emily (Chloe Coleman) and holding her for ransom.
Sam takes David to a special hospital and then takes the money to retrieve the girl at an abandoned shopping mall center. But when the kidnappers turn on one another after getting the money, they kill each other, accidentally destroying the money.
What Sam doesn’t initially know is that Nathan has double-crossed her after learning that McAlester’s son was killed and The Firm has now placed a price on Sam’s head, as she is tracked by other hired assassins.
With Emily assisting her, she is able to defeat some of the assassins. Scarlet has also shown back up and they seek assistance from a sisterhood of assassins featuring Anna May (Angela Bassett), Madeleine (Carla Gugino) and Florence (Michelle Yeoh) who work in a library where they keep weapons in books where clever titles of famous book come in handy.
Yes, there’s a lot of gunfire and a lot of ass-kicking, but it’s a lot of fun. Naturally anytime women are shown in roles like this, men come out of the woodworks to criticize them. Anytime women are not shown as the victims who need a man to rescue them, movies like this are heavily criticized.
Take recently movies like The Last Jedi and Mad Max: Fury Road. They were heavily criticized by a group of men who were accusing the filmmakers of being “woke” and destroying the film franchises.
Let’s not forget many of these people were watching action movies where rape and sexual assault of women was very common. A woman is raped in Kickboxer and a scene featuring the character who did it becomes a meme. Chuck Norris doesn’t like bad language but a woman is raped and killed in Forced Vengeance for no fucking reason whatsoever.
So fucking what, you insecure men, that you’re feelings are hurt. John Wick makes men jizz in their pants because he’s so badass, but a pretty actress like Gillan should be seen not heard.
And I like Gillan very much. She has taken on roles that are gutsy. In Oculus, she played a character who didn’t mind being somewhat unlikeable due to paranoia. Then, there’s her most famous role as Nebula in the MCU. In the first Guardian of the Galaxy, she reportedly shaved her own head for the role. And her role in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was a wonderful parody of the scantily-clad martial arts kickass women roles in video games.
And with Hadley, Bassett, Gugino and Yeoh, other actresses who have played characters who don’t take shit off anyone, so it’s a wonderful cast.
Yes, there are a few problems. Hadley and Gillan are only 14 years apart so it’s harder to see them as mother and daughter. And there’s a sense that there’s more to the relationship between Scarlett and Anna May than just colleagues, but it doesn’t go further.
Action movies sometimes have to sacrifice logic. Characters seem to show up at places just because and there’s little room for character development. You don’t go into a movie like this expecting everyone to behave like they’re in an Aaron Sorkin movie.
Whatever happened to just have movies that were escapism for a couple of waters? This movie achieves that. Boss Level, released in May on Hulu works along the same level but didn’t get much of the criticism. Of course, that movie had Frank Grillo killing hired assassins who were mostly men, but a few were women.
Audiences members laughed when Brad Pitt threw a can of dog food at a woman in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and repeatedly bashed another woman’s face into a blood pulp. Then Leonardo DiCaprio set the first woman on fire. And Pitt won an Oscar.
Yet, a movie switches genders and InCels and Dudebros turn out to trash it as being prejudice. I wouldn’t be surprised if the poster to this movie with its all-female cast becomes a popular dorm poster for college students the same way movies like Goodfellas or Reservoir Dogs have.
Like Con Air that I posted about last week, I feel the cast had a lot of fun making this movie. And it shows.