Review – Wait, John Wick Had A Daughter? (“Gunpowder Milkshake”)

Open a blender and pour in Leon: the Professional, Kill Bill Vol. 1, John Wick, Shoot ’em Up, Dick Tracy, and Atomic Blonde, and you’ll get this wild ‘n’ bloody female John Wick-ish assassin tale starring the MCU’s Karen Gillian and Game of Throne‘s Lena Headey. Saddle up!

You’re familiar with John Wick, Winston, and the Continental Hotel, but in this universe, we have The Firm, an assassination organization that has its own special 50’s diner, hospital (like in Hotel Artemis), and a huge library. . .but more on that place later. Their ace killer is Samantha (Gillian), daughter of estranged mother, Scarlett (Headey), another lethal assassin. But Sam, on a routine assignment, she accidentally kills the only son of Jim McAlester (Ralph Ineson), a powerful crime boss.

To redeem herself, all she has to do is retrieve some stolen Firm money, but that simple job goes very south, ending with Sam in a hostage negotiation and getting Emily (Chloe Coleman), an eight-year-old girl in return. Her mission failed, Sam’s boss, Nathan (Paul Giamatti), decides to throw her under the bus to save face (and keep The Firm in business), and that means every possible killer, thug, and trained assassin is sent after her. Luckily, Nathan gives her a ‘special package’ as help and that’s her long-lost mom. As the body count increases, Sam, Scarlett, and Emily finally run to the one place they think they’ll be safe. . . the library.

Problem is, the library is run by three elite professional women who aren’t too keen on seeing Scarlett after 15 years, especially Anna May (Angela Bassett). But Madeline (Carla Gugino) and Florence (Michelle Yeoh) change her mind when a busload of bad guys come a’callin’. From there it’s a bloodbath with guns, knives, chains, etc to a rockin’ Janis Joplin song. BUT! Just when you think it’s over, it ain’t as Emily gets kidnapped, setting up a slo-mo shoot-out finale. I tellya this much, the violence (laced with gallows humor) in this movie would make Quentin Tarantino stand up and applaud.

This is Israeli filmmaker Navot Papushado’s first U.S. theatrical/Netflix release, as he directed and co-wrote the script, along with newbie Ehud Lavski, and what a terrific first entry it is! Obviously a huge fan of American cinema, Navot has copycatted many elements of our films, showing off his exceptional talent in the process. Check out the Dick Tracy bright primary colors that pepper the film, the mixture of humorous fan-fiction dialogue with Tarantino-level bloodletting, and excellent, jaw-dropping fight choreography that is filmed full-frame without any lousy smash-edits or shaky-cams. Bravo!!

Shot in Berlin, this movie was originally to be shown only in Europe & Asian countries, but STX Films saw the potential and bought the rights for distribution in the U.S. in limited theatrical release and on Netflix. And, may I say, it is SO worth it! This movie, like the John Wick franchise, is like watching a comic book come to life; pure nonsense and mindless popcorn, enjoyable from start to finish. Gillian, sans her heavy Nebula make-up from Guardians of the Galaxy, is awesome as the killing machine with a starving heart. Headey is excellent as mommy packing heat and, just for fun, Ivan Kaye, Jack Bandeira, and David Burnell IV are “the Boneheads”; very unlucky assassins. And give it up for young Chloe Coleman (from My Spy) who is very expressionable and not just a kid actor.

**Now showing in selected theaters and streaming on Netflix

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