…this is mostly an excuse to show some very capable killer ladies strut their stuff on screen for in just under two hours. This is more than enough for me.
Director Navot Papushado
Screenplay Navot Papushado, Ehud Lavski
Starring Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Chloe Coleman, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti
The expanding of the John Wick tent of movie society continues with Gunpowder Milkshake. Karen Gillian proves to be more than capable of pulling the comedic action, even if the story sometime lets her down. Gillian, who has made a career after Dr. Who with the one-two punch of Nebula (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Ruby Roundhouse (Jumanji). Her charisma is equal to her physical prowess, which makes her a fine candidate for this action story.
Gillian is Sam, a girl abandoned at age 12 by her mother (Heady) after a shootout at a unique cafe. She is taken in by mid-level boss Nathan (Giamatti). The next time we see her, she’s a hitman for Nathan’s group, The Firm, which is, unsurprisingly, represented by a bunch of old white men sitting around a fancy office with leather bound chairs and books.
She moves from one hit, where she kills the son of another boss, right into something worse. She finds a delightful little girl named Emily (Coleman) who is without anyone. This new situation provides Sam with an unwanted break from her normal life as she makes the choice to save Emily and face the consequences.
Along the way, we get to meet the members of the Library. These women (Bassett, Yeoh, Gugino) trade more than books and they also had been hurt when Sam’s mother left them. Of course once Sam runs into problems, she will somehow find her mother and her former association.
Even if the story uses thin logic to connect all of these groups together, the action of this film is pretty good. We won’t see Gillian power lifting people twice her size, but we get the chance to see her use her obvious skills to stay alive long enough to win. There is an interesting use of a drug that somehow prevents her from using her arms but leaves her legs completely unaffected. It provides Gillian the chance to employ her brains and physical comedy skills, so it’s forgivable.
Less forgivable is what they allow to happen to Michelle Yeoh in the last act. When you see it, you will know she is the least likely person to get the pointy end in close quarters.
There are some nice moments in this film where the bloody action gets the emphasis of a lens that understands comedy. Overall, this is mostly an excuse to show some very capable killer ladies strut their stuff on screen for in just under two hours. This is more than enough for me.
(*** out of *****)