Director Navot Papushado provides audiences with an enjoyable action romp in Gunpowder Milkshake from Netflix. Sam (Karen Gillan) was only 12 years old when her mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey), an elite assassin, was forced to abandon her. The Firm, the ruthless crime syndicate her mother worked for, raised Sam. Now, 15 years later, Sam has followed her mother's example and grown into a fierce hit-woman. She uses her "talents" to clean up The Firm's most dangerous messes.
Sam is as efficient as she is loyal. However, when a high-risk job goes wrong, she must choose between serving The Firm and protecting the life of an innocent 8-year-old girl -- Emily (Chloe Colemaan). Sam has only one chance to survive with a target on her back: Reunite with her mother and her lethal associates: The Librarians (Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino). These three generations of women must now learn to trust each other, stand up to The Firm and their army of henchmen, and raise hell against those who could take everything from them.
I had seen promotional ads for Gunpowder Milkshake for months, and initially, I assumed that the film would center on The Librarians (Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino). It wasn't until I saw the trailer that I realized that the character of Sam portrayed by Karen Gillan was the actual lead of the film. To some moviegoers, these may seem like a bait and switch to pull audiences in; however, I had such a good time with Gunpowder Milkshake. I will let that slide.
The script for Gunpowder Milkshake hails from Ehud Lavski and Navot Papushado. After a nice opening introducing us to a teenage Sam and Scarlet (Lena Headey), the film shows us a domino effect of why Sam ended up the way she did. Karen Gillan, who you may remember as Nebula from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Jumanji films, plays the brooding killer for hire very well. Yes, the standard character template of an assassin knowing what they do is wrong but still having a moral code. However, the way that Gillian portrays the role that makes the character work. I was also fond of the plot angle the film uses to bring Emily and Sam together.
Kudos to child actress Chloe Colemaan as Emily. Her character never comes off as annoying or overly cutesy. Instead, Colemaan plays a typical eight years old, and I found the scenes where she mentioned where she gets her knowledge believable. For about the first hour or so, the film focuses on Emily and Sam. I commend director Navot Papushado for the angle he took. The reason is when Emily, Scarlet, and Sam finally link up with The Librarians; it is an eye-candy fest for action junkies.
While there is no substantial backstory for The Librarians, there does not need to be one. We want to see these women kick ass, and that is just what they do. Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino all get a chance to take out some baddies, and they all look great doing so. When the action gets slow motion happy, I was having so much fun it is is a gripe worth overlooking. Outside of Paul Giamatti, there are no male characters worth mentioning, which is just fine by me.
If Gunpowder Milkshake is a streaming success, I hope Netflix gives up a prequel focusing on The Librarians in the young days. Gunpowder Milkshake will not win any awards, but the film succeeds in putting the ladies first with the action.
Final Grade: B +
Gunpowder Milkshake is available to stream tommorow at www.netflix.com/GunpowderMilkshake