Movie review: Gunpowder Milkshake
Marvel fans who knew Karen Gillan had more in her than just skulking around as Nebula from the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Avengers films will get to see her full skill set and star quality on display as the leading lady of Gunpowder Milkshake, which opens in cinemas tomorrow.
I suppose we had a preview of it in the Jumanji films, but the underrated Scottish actress was constantly overshadowed by the scenery-chewing superstar trio of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black.
Now she takes centre stage in this rip-roaring, girl-powered crime thriller, a stylish blend of spaghetti westerns, film noir and samurai/ronin movies.
The good news is that Gillan is captivating enough to carry it.
Gunpowder Milkshake is set in a city with a dark fairy tale nature and presents a Kill Bill/John Wick-esque neon-coloured heightened reality replete with violence and humour.
Gillan is kick-ass as top assassin Sam, who suffers from abandonment issues yet to be unpacked, and she nails both the hard and soft aspects of her role with ease.
The action sequences are highly entertaining, whether she is fighting off goons in a bowling alley, parking lot and even a dental clinic (this sequence is particularly inventive, as both her arms are temporarily paralysed).
But the best part is when she joins forces with other strong women who are now turning the tables on the powerful male-dominated crime syndicate The Firm that is out to get them.
Game Of Thrones fans will get a kick out of watching Lena Headey, who plays Sam's absent elite hitwoman mother Scarlet, challenge the patriarchy in various creative ways.
After rescuing an eight-year-old orphan (Chloe Coleman) from a job gone awry, Sam finds herself becoming a maternal figure to her little apprentice while juggling the love-hate relationship with her own mum.
But Gunpowder Milkshake saves its big guns for when they are reunited with Scarlet's secret sisterhood of assassins (Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Carla Gugino).
Their headquarters is an art deco library-cum-armoury, where the operatic penultimate showdown takes place.
It is the chemistry and dynamic among the female cast that allows this sweet cinematic confection to go down so smoothly.
FILM: Gunpowder Milkshake
STARRING: Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Chloe Coleman, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino
WRITER-DIRECTOR: Navot Papushado
THE SKINNY: When a high-risk job goes wrong, hitwoman Sam (Gillan) must choose between serving her ruthless crime syndicate and protecting the life of an innocent eight-year-old girl (Coleman). With a target on her back, Sam reunites with her assassin mother (Headey) and the latter's lethal associates (Bassett, Yeoh and Gugino).