Milkshakes and guns – one have to wonder is this film worth it from the title alone. Gunpowder Milkshake is star-studded with the cast including Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Carla Gugino (Spy Kids), Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do with It and, more modernly, American Horror Story series), and Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon). This could have been a cool addition to the Netflix films that have been a streaming hit, but there is a sorely lacking sense of originality and thrill.
The film has elements of Quentin Tarantino films like Sin City or Kill Bill with the ludicrous action and sideline drama. But it fails to achieve any real substance. Eva, played by Karen Gillan, is a hitman who is sent to kill someone who stole money from powerful people. She ends up realizing the man stole it because they took his daughter, so with empathy that is not given time to develop, she sticks her neck out to try and trick the thieves by bringing them the ransom but planning to attack them instead. She is not given time to execute her plan because some comically bad “colleagues” try to bring her in to her pseudo-father.
If you think this sounds ridiculous, then just wait. As the film continues, we have a dysfunctional family reunion thrown in as well. The audience is probably supposed to enjoy getting to see Eva in a more relatable way as a daughter missing her mother, but it just adds to the disconnect of the film. Somehow, the chemistry just is not there as it develops with Eva protecting Emily, the girl who was taken for ransom, while trying to begrudgingly reunite with her estranged mother.
The best part of the film goes back to its resemblance to Tarantino’s style of epic fights that play on the fact it is not real. At one point early in the film, Eva is paralyzed but only in her arms, so she must fight the three hitmen sent to bring her in with a gun and knife taped to her hands. The blood and ways they die is so fake, it is funny. Another fun part is how slow the camera moves for some of the climactic fights. You can see every expression as bullets fly everywhere.
However, the film ultimately fell flat. For a female-led action movie, it could have been so much better. The film tried to be action-packed, comical, calculated, and fierce without mastering or fully developing any of them. There were not enough cool fight scenes, and there was not a clear enough storyline. Many of the seemingly major parts of the plot were masked in ill-timed fighting or the other way around. While it is enjoyable to see the actresses kickass, it lacked enough original excitement to hold the audience’s attention.