‘Jane Wick’ would have been a more suitable title!
‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ is not just a film, it’s an experience especially for the fans of the action genre and John Wick. A more appropriate title would have been Jane Wick but then, it’s a ‘Sam’ here who does all the hard ‘wick’. It is sort of a tribute to Newton’s third law of motion, but here, the reaction is more severe than the action, because Sam just doesn’t know when to stop!
The movie revolves around Sam (Karen Gillan) who works as an assassin for the Firm, the same place where her mother (Lena Headey) was employed before going AWOL fifteen years earlier. Since then, Sam has been doing the Firm’s bidding, until they ask her to kill the wrong man, and then send more men to kill her, so that they can blame her for the wrongful killing. Thankfully for Sam, her former employer Nathan (the dependable Paul Giamatti) didn’t take into account her long lost mother and her friends (Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino and Michelle Yeoh) who help Sam and her friend Emily (Chloe Coleman) when they are on the run, from the Firm.
It’s the kind of movie for those who loved the Kill Bill series, the John Wick franchise and Shoot ‘Em Up, for there is more action than words, more bullets than dialogues, and more destruction than you can imagine in 114 minutes. What else do you expect from a movie where rogue assassin hunters hunt one of their own, for something that she was ordered to do by her boss, without accepting that she might be better than them.
Add an 8-year-old girl to the equation and we have something from Mercury Rising kind of films where the ‘woman of action’ also has to change gears and try to be careful, instead of careless. Thinking of changing gears and you instantly remember the chase sequence where Sam teaches the girl how to maneuver a car in an underground parking garage, which is stuff dreams are made of. After all, in her defense, she can safely say that her hands were ‘paralyzed’ and someone had to drive the car!
Interesting, isn’t it? Like John Wick, this film also has so much action that you would start dreaming about how to leave the theatre (if you had watched the film in one), or what to do the next time someone tries to stand in your way or how to reply to a bully in his own language. Yes, ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ has that effect on the audience but that’s a good thing, for we live in a world where a girl should know how to defend herself, otherwise, she would become a chink in the armor. This might be the first big action flick by Navot Papushado but is certainly not going to be his last. For after this film, he will be approached by everyone who wants to make something outstanding and long-lasting in limited resources. The way he has given the movie the Quentin Tarantino feel, as well as the John Wick look, is something others also desire but are unable to pull off.
As for Karen Gillan, something like this was always on the cards since her appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, and Jumanji franchises. She is a born fighter, and that’s what helped her come out victorious in this character where Sam always gets her way, even if it means killing a dozen men in less than a minute! She is so violently badass that compared to her predecessors, she looks like ‘The Terminator’ to their ‘Sarah Connor’ (the one before Judgement Day!), orthe T-1000 to Arnold’s later inferior model!
And to give birth to a badass, you have to have a badass mother, something Lena Headey’s Scarlet excels in. As a former head of the ‘sisterhood of assassins’, her character resurfaces just in time to connect with her daughter, kill those responsible for her going underground, and saves the day. Her friends are no less ‘thrilling’ for they use books to fight their enemies; their books have weapons instead of pages, and their library would prove to be a treasure trove for John Wick if he ever finds the way!
Some of the scenes will go down in film history as iconic – the one in the clinic where three assassins have a standoff with Sam (in Once Upon A Time in the West style), another where she is seen fighting the kidnappers at a bowling alley (one girl versus three men, again!), and one where the veteran assassins (not old) show their skills by killing ruthless men, more ruthlessly. However, the scene that takes place at the beginning and doesn’t feature Sam with a gun in her hand, sets the pace of the movie. The action choreographer must be high while executing these sequences!
For fans of other action flicks, there are a lot of things that you will enjoy, such as the Batcave-like headquarters below a library, Kill Bill style showdowns, a Shoot ‘Em Up like nonsense shooting and a storyline that would make John Wick proud. Watch when you have to charge yourself, for it would be impossible to keep your assassin instincts asleep after this Gunpowder Milkshake.