Review by Camden Ferrell
Gunpowder Milkshake is the newest movie from Israeli writer and director Navot Papushado. The film boasts an impressive cast and an action-packed premise. Unfortunately, even though the movie starts and ends strongly, it stumbles elsewhere in between and ultimately squanders its potential.
Sam is abandoned as a girl by her mother who is an assassin. Years later, she too grows up to become a cold-blooded assassin. One of her missions goes awry and spins out of control, and she go rogue, seeking help from her associates in order to protect a young girl who is caught in the middle of all the chaos. It’s a simple enough premise that has been done before. Even though it’s nothing new, there is a lot of potential for high octane action and fight choreography.
One of the most jarring aspects of this film comes from its script, written by Ehud Lavski and Papushado. It starts out strongly with witty dialogue and cleverly paced scenes. These beginning moments seem to pay homage to the other films from this genre. However, the script slowly loses focus and utilizes a lot of dialogue that are more caricature than homage. It takes its premise and doesn’t do much to spice it up or make it unique. It is unevenly paced throughout, and it ultimately is one of the aspects working against this film.
The acting in the film is decent throughout, but the ensemble isn’t properly utilized. Karen Gillan leads the film as Sam, and she does it with a steadfast cold-blooded performance that is entertaining if nothing else. The movie was marketed as an ensemble film, but its talented cast is not as present as one would hope. Actors like Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino are painfully underused, but they are strong and entertaining in their scenes.
Most of the action is tepid, and some of the set pieces and choreography feel a little dissonant. The fights are oddly paced, but even in the most underwhelming of scenes, there are always a handful of thrilling shots and moments. Even though a lot of the action doesn’t land properly, the final big fight sequence is genuinely exhilarating and exciting. If the other scenes were of the same caliber, this could have been a top-notch action film. The movie also has some interesting cinematography, wardrobe, and production design to give the film superficial personality even if it doesn’t mean much below the surface.
Gunpowder Milkshake has its moments, but as a whole, it is underwhelming considering the amount of talent on and off screen. It doesn’t make the most of its cast and premise, and it doesn’t distinguish itself amongst assassin movies. There is already a sequel in development, and one can hope they expand more upon this world and properly utilize its wide array of characters.
Gunpowder Milkshake is streaming on Netflix July 14.
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