Gunpowder Milkshake review: Mother-daughter fighting team adds spark to uneven action movie

·1-min read
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This violent, kinda feminist caper begins so badly. It’s the near future and Sam (Karen Gillan) is a US assassin who disobeys her ruthless employers to help an eight-year-old kid (Chloe Coleman; profoundly pensive) and, as a result, gets set upon by goons.

In her first big fight, Sam fends off her attackers, in a bowling alley, and we’re supposed to be impressed by her fast-thinking and killer limbs. Unfortunately, she seems really SLOW. Seeing Sam in action is like watching someone in a yoga class attempt to stretch and accidentally kicking the person next to them. Don’t stand next to Sam! She’s a menace!

Anyway, things improve once Sam’s long-lost mum, Scarlett (Lena Headey; super fizzy) shows up. Scarlett stops one of Sam’s tirades with the words, “You’re frothing at the mouth,” and the way Sam’s tongue pops out to check if this is true is both funny and moving.

Mother-daughter fighting teams are not two a penny, and Scarlett’s middle-aged, library-dwelling-but-also-armed-and-dangerous pals (played by Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Carla Gugino) sink their teeth into two really meaty battles.

Youngsters will be lured in by the stress-free blood baths, jokes about swearing and references to sugary drinks. It’s probably sick to encourage such viewing habits, but remember how Lisa and Bart Simpson loved The Itchy & Scratchy Show? There are films about violent femmes I’d rather kids were consuming (Birds of Prey!). Still, they could do a lot worse. In a landscape that remains dominated by the likes of Zen knucklehead John Wick, Sam and her gruesome gang are alright with me.

Sky Cinema. 114 mins, 15

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