Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)
July 16, 2021 11:07 AM - Subscribe

Three generations of women fight back against those who could take everything from them.

In her turbulent life as a professional assassin, Scarlet was cruelly forced to abandon her daughter Sam and go on the run. Years later, despite the estrangement, Sam has also grown up into a cold-blooded hitwoman. After a high-stakes mission spins out of control, putting an innocent 8-year-old girl in the middle of the gang war she has unleashed, Sam has no choice but to go rogue. This ultimately leads her back to her mother and her former hitwomen sidekicks, who all join forces in an avenging war against those who took everything from them.
posted by kitten kaboodle (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The trailer illustrates the intrigue pique of the Netflix algorithm: Recommended because you liked Edgar Wright and John Wick, here's some quippy action with some colorful flair. I really wanted to like it.

The colorful sets are the only thing the film really delivers on. The pacing, in and out of action scenes is bloated, the characters woefully underserve the actors, the comedy is limp, and it runs thirty minutes too long.
posted by ipe at 3:02 PM on July 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

I give it a B. It certainly passed the time, and subverted my expectations about how they were going to deal with the Firm.
posted by Mogur at 4:52 PM on July 16, 2021

Like bad comedy makes you realize how impressive good comedy is, this movie made me remember how surprised I was the first time I watched John Wick and realized it was good. (I will say this -- this movie convinced me that hiring Paul Giamatti might be the most useful thing a movie can do with their budget! He's always watchable and believable in everything he does.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:25 PM on July 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

That is an incredibly awesome library. A+++. (I, half kidding, grew up in public libraries.)

Good looking movie. It reminds me a little of the pre-grimdark comic book adaptation movies especially with the vibrant solid colours and high contrast.

Likewise, much more of a fantasy feel over fictional realism, and while mostly avoiding straight up stupid the silliness there is is of the old-school comic book sensibility.

The library fight/ last stand was a good sendup of those two cliches, and a whole bunch of others too. This movie knows when to take itself seriously and when not to. I appreciate the cleverness but it can be a bit jarring being repeatedly dashed between the two poles.

Again, a bit of a throwback as this doesn't follow the constantly hyperkinetic style common to modern action movies. The early-middle part could be considered a bit laconic, but I'll call that style. Returning to that to set up the second climax worked well after getting sucked into the caring about the mains.

Like a good lover, there's a third climax.

High powered cast, but it's largely limited to mostly-just-cameos. But I thought that there was good chemistry. The all-female principles felt organic. I wonder what Gugino thought about being cast alongside Bassett and Yeoh? Loved that Yeoh uses guns as much as everyone else, although that should be a given by now.

If only this filmmaking team could make a modern version of 'Red Sonja' with Gillan...

I'm usually annoyed by the kids in movies like this. This Kid (Chloe Coleman) didn't annoy me at all. Movie also tried to make a point of it being a "family-friendly" movie - or am I tripping (or was that the joke - one of many subtle ones)?

Giamatti has certainly matured into a character role that he excels at, although he can easily do well in other ones too. He's too much of a chameleon for me to come up with prominent counterexamples to the type right now.

Of the post theaters-were-closed-for-a-year+ movies, this is definitely the most enjoyable of the ones that I've seen so far.

I think this might well be very rewatchable for fun and atmosphere.

Are "good natured genre parodies done deadpan with exquisite production values with a talented and funny cast" a thing? (not that the following necessarily apply and is an entirely different thought)


Airplane(1980)/ Hotshots (1991)/... Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)?
posted by porpoise at 9:21 PM on July 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

After a high-stakes mission spins out of control, putting an innocent 8-year-old girl in the middle of the gang war she has unleashed,

Um, eight and three quarters.

I liked it. Not exactly an instant classic, but it was fun.

It made me wish the Karen Sisko tv show starring Gugino in the title role has lasted longer.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:51 AM on July 17, 2021 [4 favorites]

I'm surprised they didn't title it Jane Wick.
posted by SPrintF at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2021

This was a good Netflix level film. Karen Gillan does a mostly good job carying the lead but the film overall is uneven. Solid B for me!
posted by jazon at 8:30 PM on July 17, 2021

I was surprised to see that it’s not based on a graphic novel. There were some shots that just looked like they must have been based on iconic panels from one. It took a little while to hook me, but I enjoyed it.
posted by jimw at 8:53 PM on July 17, 2021 [4 favorites]

This was 100% sold and bought with the tag line John Wick except with women and should have been made by women. I will say it mostly avoided being male-gazey so props for that.

It ultimately came across as super odd to me. It felt like it was stuck in the edge of wanting to be a Burton-style camp fest but just couldn't make the commitment. The noir-ish setting and bright colors reminded me a little of Dick Tracy which really excelled at those visuals.

I've watched so many skinny woman takes on big men movies and can easily suspend belief for the brawls but Gillan and/or the choreography was really poor. Gillan has 5 inches on Robbie but Harley's fights had a fluidity to them that the fights here didn't.

The limp arms scene was great and I wish they had gone more with the comedic violence like that, I think it would have worked better overall.
posted by M Edward at 2:02 PM on July 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either. I feel like I spent the whole movie waiting for... something? All of the characters are taking everything Extremely Seriously, but the setting is weird to the point of being absurd. There are obviously some very different rules in play but it doesn't feel like this is ever acknowledged or explained in any way. Maybe if there was a little bit more world-building? Between that and the music and the way things were shot and the whole aesthetic, I feel like there were a lot of very deliberate choices made to convey a very specific message, but that I wasn't able to understand the message. Some of it, especially the way it ended, read to me as deliberate subversion of movies like Kill Bill or very specifically Kill Bill in particular, while other parts read as unabashed homage to the same.

I wondered if it was an adaptation from a comic or something that ended up leaving out a lot of the background material, but it seems to be a standalone work. Maybe I'm overthinking what is actually just a dumb action movie? I also wonder if I'm being some kind of sexist and over-scrutinizing this because the protagonists are women; would I be questioning it as much if it was a cast full of men, or would I just accept it as a dumb action movie? On the other hand, if it had starred Bro Dudely, would I have even bothered watching it in the first place?

There is apparently a sequel in development, and I will probably watch it when it gets released, just to see if it leaves me feeling any less deeply confused about the world it takes place in.
posted by jordemort at 10:43 PM on July 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

I feel like we need our world to be one where we can have throwaway action movies starring women that don't have to carry the burden of representing the suppressed potential of all women in film.

I accept and can enjoy a middling but competent action movie starring men without a second thought, and I can do the same for women.

Sure, this was highly derivative (thankfully of films other than Tarantino's, I'm so relieved we're mostly past that era now). But it was a perfectly entertaining popcorn-muncher. Whether it intended to be more than that I don't know, but it was at least that.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:49 PM on July 18, 2021 [6 favorites]

There are obviously some very different rules in play but it doesn't feel like this is ever acknowledged or explained in any way.

This is, I think, the John Wick influence, (although other flicks & shows have done it too - Supernatural, Grimm, Buffy, the Librarians movies & show, the Matrix series, arguably a pretty fair number of superhero movies, etc etc etc) - where we the audience are kinda thrown into a world under or beside or hidden within the "normal" world that we know, and discovering the rules & structure of that world is a process over multiple movies & episodes.

I'd say mostly John Wick simply because that was a huge financial, critical, and cultural hit, and moviemaking in general tends to look to recent hits to figure out what kind of flicks to make.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:01 AM on July 19, 2021

I wondered if it was an adaptation from a comic or something

Same - after one of the diner flashbacks, I spent some time trying to search that out.

Sigh... So... her mother was about 3hrs and 30m late to meet her at the diner - there is a milkshake that has been sitting there that long, which they both drink it voraciously - yet, it's level never decreased.

This is the most "cyberpunk" movie I have seen in awhile... (Style Over Substance)

Like some other Netflix movies, it just never "gelled" for me - but, I realize that perhaps - I am the problem, since the pandemic started, I have been "meh" on most movies made (and/or released) during this time-period.
posted by rozcakj at 6:50 AM on July 19, 2021

This is, I think, the John Wick influence

This goes back to my question of, if it had starred a dude, would I have even bothered watching? Because I love Keanu and I've heard from every corner of the Earth that John Wick is very very very good but I've never actually sat down to watch it.
posted by jordemort at 6:56 AM on July 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed the heck out of this film. I do wonder if the fact that we saw it in cinemas rather than on a laptop/TV screen added to our enjoyment. It made me want to see all of these actresses, and possibly characters, in another film.

The fact that we've gotten this far in the thread and no one has mentioned that Scarlet and Anna May were exes surprises me a bit. I enjoyed how they did that in an understated way.
posted by rednikki at 4:04 AM on July 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I loved the hell out of this movie and thought the casting was amazing. I found myself seriously hoping that we get a series of movies out of this because I could go for Napalm Milkshake, Dynamite Milkshake, and the explain everything prequel, Saltpetre Milkshake.

Also, I really enjoyed the fact that I could recognize and name every single actress (even the kid) but with the exception of Paul whatshisface, all the dudes were no-names to me.

Also on team Scarlet and Anna May were an item and that's why Anna May was sooooo very hurt.
posted by teleri025 at 1:10 PM on July 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

I really enjoyed this movie, but agree that you need to buy into the silliness. I mean, Karen Gillan kills a guy warning a Dracula mask by driving a wooden stake through his heart because vampire, duh. The artificiality of the world reminded me of Alan Rudolph's Trouble in Mind.

if it had starred a dude, would I have even bothered watching?

I may not have. But I like watching movies with kickass women kicking ass, so I am more likely to watch and enjoy movies with women in the forefront than I would like the exact same movies but with men.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:54 PM on July 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I found myself seriously hoping that we get a series of movies out of this because I could go for Napalm Milkshake, Dynamite Milkshake, and the explain everything prequel, Saltpetre Milkshake.

A sequel is in the works.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:58 PM on July 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

For everyone who always wondered how the hordes of disposable henchmen get from action scene to action scene, finally we've been allowed to see them taking the henchmen bus around town!
posted by starfishprime at 1:43 AM on August 5, 2021 [5 favorites]

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