Sunday, July 25, 2021

Gunpowder Milkshake

Movie Name:
Gunpowder Milkshake
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Navot Papushado
Starring: Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti, Chloe Coleman, Ralph Ineson, Ivan Kaye, Jack Bandeira, Adam Nagaitis, Samuel Anderson, Michael Smiley, Anita Olatunji
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Another month, another release from Netflix, this time around featuring an impressive array of acting talent, including Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett and the always formidable, Paul Giamatti. The film follows the story of Sam, who as teenager realizes her mom is a hired assassin. When her mom has to flee, in order to save her, Sam grows up under the tutelage of "The Firm", becoming a highly skilled assassin herself. Her handler sends her on a new mission to retrieve some stolen money, and that's where things start derailing. Turns out the man had stolen the money to pay off some people who had kidnapped his daughter. As Sam handles the situation the best she can, a previous clean up she handled, had some important collateral damage, namely the son of the leader of a  rival organization to "The Firm". As this organization threatens "The Firm", they decide to surrender Sam's location, who eventually has to resort to her mother, and an underground association of "Librarians" to save herself and the young girl, whose path she crossed earlier on.
Navot Papushado made a name for himself with the film "Rabies", but his subsequent features never reached as much notoriety as his debut. The film, which is co-written by Papushado and Ehud Lavski, desperately tries to live within the same universe as Chad Stahelski's (and David Leitch at least in the first installment) "John Wick". Sadly it's a film that for all its noise, brutality, choreography and well chosen cast, never amounts to building much dimension to any of its main characters, nor for that matter ever, for truly crafting an enemy who suggests any actual danger/menace. For all the blood-splattering that it causes, both the heroines and the villains, never get much of an understanding of who they are, what they do (except kill and get killed), or why they do any of those same actions (essentially puppets). If "John Wick" used an economical and B-movie style to roughly draw characters and motivations, this film photocopies those premises, but very roughly and sadly without much engagement or humor. While the cast is superb, Karen Gillan and Lena Headey are more akin to sisters, and not really mother/daughter, though Lena Headey always manages to give just enough sass to her characters to keep the momentum going. The supporting cast sadly doesn't have much to do, with the wonderful Carla Gugino trying to bring as much empathy and quirkiness to her character, whereas Angela Basset and Michelle Yeoh, are simply there for star power and iconic presence (which they have in spades). The always fantastic Paul Giamatti is somewhat repeating one of his roles, with slight deviations from Michael Davis's "Shoot 'Em Up". The cinematography from veteran Michael Seresin is wonderful, as is the costume design from Louise Frogley. Another forgettable film, with a cast who deserved a lot more.