Review: ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ (2021)

Thanks to the John Wick films, for better or worse, assassin movies are all the rage again. The excellent Nobody hit earlier this year and we have a few more on the way as well (Kate Beckinsale’s Jolt, Maggie Q’s The Protege, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Kate), not to mention the fact that John Wick: Chapter 4 is shooting as well speak. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of assassins hitting in 2021 & 2022 and Gunpowder Milkshake is currently sitting right in the middle.

On paper, this is a slam dunk and a half. A badass female assassins movie starring Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino, Ralph Ineson, Michael Smiley, and Paul Giamatti? From one half of the writing/directing team behind Rabies and Big Bad Wolves? Be still my beating heart!

If only it came even close to realizing that kind of potential. Instead of handing us a wildly entertaining action comedy that is packed to the brim with talented performers, writer/director Navot Papushado gifts us with an utter slog of an unfunny, poorly written, and poorly directed mess. Why it is almost two hours long is beyond me, especially when it feels like four hours when viewing it, but no amount of shortening could save this travesty. What should have been a light & fun Matthew Vaughn/Robert Rodriguez-style actioner ends up just being a colossal waste of the talented performers involved and an even bigger waste of the viewer’s time.

I could continue bagging on this further, but I just don’t see the point. Gunpowder Milkshake isn’t the worst film I have seen this year from a major studio (and yes, Netflix IS a major studio now), but it comes very close. Papushado’s (former?) filmmaking partner Aharon Keshales has a solo film of his own (Till Death) on the way either this year or next that has a similarly-enticing cast. Let’s hope that one turns out way better than this travesty of a motion picture.

In the meantime, if you must scratch your assassins-in-action itch, I suggest you seek out something like Atomic Blonde, Hotel Artemis, Nobody, or the John Wick films instead. You’ll have a much happier movie-watching experience if you do. Trust me.

Gunpowder Milkshake is an action comedy. It is directed by Navot Papushado, from a screenplay by Ehud Lavski and Navot Papushado. The film was produced by Alex Heineman, Andrew Rona, Christoph Fisser, Rachel Clara Henochsberg, Henning Molfenter, and Charlie Weobcken. It stars Karen GIllan, Lena Headey, Chloe Coleman, Paul Giamatti, Ralph Ineson, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino, Michael Smiley, Samuel Anderson, Adam Nagaitis, Ivan Kaye, Jack Bandeira, David Burnell IV, and Freya Allen.

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