'Gunpowder Milkshake' - Movie Review

I like Karen Gillan. She's good as Nebula in the Marvel universe, and good in the Jumanji movies. But just because she has practice in making action movies doesn't mean she can live up to the associated acting. Here she plays Sam, a young assassin who got into the profession because it was all she knew when her assassin mother abandoned her at the age of 12. (The logic has already broken down, but it's a movie, we'll run with it.) Gillan is supposed to look incredibly dangerous, but the slouching saunter she's developed to show off Sam's threat looks more like Matthew McConaughey after a couple too many joints. She's somewhat better as a damaged product of her upbringing.

Like "John Wick" has the hotel, so Sam can visit "the Library," where she gets "books" that have firearms inside them.

Men exist in this movie only to be loathed, maimed, or killed. Usually all three. This, as we're told in the movie, is feminism. Women reject the roles foisted on them by men - and apparently become assassins disguised as librarians. And yet, as soon as they meet an eight year old girl, all five main characters want to act like mothers ... the movie is massively tonally inconsistent.

The cast list is fascinating: Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti. This is several of the best female action stars alive today. Yeoh may be getting up there in years, but she looks great and has done bad action movies her whole life and is right at home in this one. Headey is a great actress, and comes out looking - not good, but - least bad in the acting department here. Bassett has been the least consistent actor: she's been fantastic in some movies, appalling in others. Unfortunately, she's more on the "appalling" end of the scale in this one, looking like she's sucking on a lemon through every appearance on screen. Gillan is having fun slumming it, knows she's slumming it. And Giamatti ... he's one of the best character actors alive today, somebody please give the man better roles ...

Of all director Navot Papushado's poor choices in making this movie, doing the dénouement in slow motion was possibly the worst. Slow motion mayhem can be very cool, but when your budget doesn't extend to extensive rehearsal of the scene, slowing it down shows just how badly the stunt men and actors are waiting for each other to finish that last move, or how far that punch or kick really missed its target by. It looked awful.

Apparently I'm standing against the critics on this one: they mostly like it. <shrug> It's glossy and has a list of names, but that's all it's got going for it.