Hollywood meets feminism, bad men die in pantomime gross-out gore

July 13, 2021
Lena Headey (L) and Karen Gillan star in 'Gunpowder Milkshake'.

Gunpowder Milkshake
Directed by Navot Papushado
Starring Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Chloe Coleman, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti, Ralph Ineson
In cinemas

Hollywood is the monster that eats all its enemies.

When video games rose to prominence it simply bought the best of their writers and made movies that looked just like the games.

It was the same when kung ku movies became popular. Suddenly intricately choreographed fight scenes became common place.

In an example of what Herbert Marcuse called “repressive tolerance”, Hollywood got all “woke” when Black Lives Matter erupted. Diversity on screen became the order of the day.

And, of course, music videos were swallowed whole long ago.

Now, after the #MeToo movement has brought down former film producer and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein, how does Hollywood cope? Gunpowder Milkshake is one attempt and it manages to mix together everything mentioned above combined with a slick, retro, neon-inflected look.

The storyline focuses on female assassins and a murderous male organisation called The Firm. Don’t worry about any further details, it is as believable as a computer game, but you can see a kind of feminist critique peeking through as the women waste the bad guys.

The six protagonists, the ones we are supposed to cheer, are all female, ranging in age from eight years to middle-aged, and cover a spectrum of ethnicities. So there is someone on screen for every woman, no matter what age to identify with.

There’s even a hint of same-sex relationship thrown in, so all the boxes on the producers’ risk management list have been checked.

For maximum enjoyment, the viewer has to leave their sense of disbelief at the door. But if you like pantomime movies full of firefights, gross-out gore and mayhem then this is for you.

For me, having one of the balletic, slow motion, mass-murderous shootouts accompanied by Janis Joplin singing "Take Another Piece of My Heart" was, well, to die for!

And there is obviously enough room in the finale for a sequel, so these milkshakes will be around for some time to come.

[The trailer of Gunpowder Milkshake can be seen here]

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