GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE (2021)
Sam (Karen Gillan) is an assassin for The Firm, and after her most recent assignment goes awry, is tasked with retrieving some money stolen from them and killing the man, David (Samuel Anderson), who took it. She finds he stole the money for ransom, to get his kidnapped daughter Emily (Chloe Coleman) back and Sam proceeds to go rescue her. Along the way the money is destroyed, David dies and now The Firm wants Sam dead. With Emily in tow, Sam is forced to team with her estranged assassin mother, Scarlet (Lena Headly) and a sisterhood of assassins (Carla Guigino. Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett) Scarlet once belonged to, to face down an army of killers sent her way.
Netflix streaming movie is stylishly enough directed by Navot Papushado (Rabies) from a script by he and Ehud Lavski. It’s an entertaining enough movie, though a bit of a mess and clearly is a strong case of John Wick meets The Professional, with a little Tarantino thrown in for good measure. The cast all seem to be having a good time playing a host of oddball characters and there is plenty of gunfire, but it gets tiresome after a while. We’ve been watching these slow motion gunfights and stabbings since John Woo made them popular in the 90s and these hip, hyper-violent crime flicks are starting to get played out. They’ve become their own subgenre. Gunpowder Milkshake has a fun neon colored look to go along with all the CGI blood and gun flares and while it’s never boring, it’s never all that involving either. An OK waste of time if there is nothing else to watch and Gillan does make Sam a likable killer with a sarcastic sense of humor and a heart. Also stars Paul Giamatti as Firm head Nathan.
THE DEPRAVED (2011)
The Depraved is a German horror thriller from Andy Fetscher that’s only points of real interest is being filmed in the miles of underground tunnels beneath Berlin and some moody cinematography. The completely derivative story has a group of hipster urban explorers being led down into the tunnels for what they hope is a thrilling night of exploration to find Hitler’s bunker and instead run into a deranged cannibal who tortures, murders and turns some of them into stew. We’ve seen it all before countless times and while the novel setting adds some atmosphere and actor Klaus Stiglmeier provides a very creepy villain, the rest of the characters are completely generic and and the story is too familiar to get us very excited. There is plentiful and well orchestrated gore and cool locations but, it never reaches an intensity that will make us forget that we have already sat through this “Chainsaw Massacre” story many times before. A mildly amusing flick if you are curious or a completest in the young people vs. crazed cannibals sub-genre.
BIG BAD WOLVES (2014)
Once again the internet hype machine is at work and once again we have a major disappointment. This Israeli crime thriller from filmmakers Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales tells the story of a cop (Lior Ashkenazi) who is thrown off a case involving abused and murdered little girls for beating up the suspect (Tzahi Grad) and having the incident go viral on Youtube. But, both he and the latest victim’s father (Rotem Keinan) both seperately plan to kidnap the school teacher suspect and torture a confession out of him and they eventually team up, at least at the start, as predictably… and the film can be predictable… things don’t quite go as planned. After a fairly slow set-up we then get a tedious and dull hour of watching a man strapped to a chair get tortured and terrorized all leading up to an ending that is far from surprising. There are some failed attempts at giving the film a hip sense of humor to go along with the vicious violence but, it only serves to stop any momentum the film has dead. And since none of the characters are likable or sympathetic… as I said we can see early on where this is headed and the question as to guilt and innocence is foolishly revealed early on… we never really get emotionally invested or really care. And the few times the film starts to build a bit of intensity, it stops dead for those lame attempts at humor, such as a call from a principal characters mother right in the middle of a torture session. Ha, ha, ha … epic fail! The film also stops dead twice to make commentary on Arab/Israeli relations in the form of an Arab man (Kais Nashif) encountered on a horse who ultimately has no effect on the story or plot other then to provide a convenient cellphone at one point. Again, just serves to stretch this one note flick out longer then it needs to be and it’s at least 15 minutes too long considering it’s simple story. The filmmakers are no Tarantinos or even Eli Roths and their constant attempts to make this a ‘violent yet, hip and cool’ crime drama just slow things down and add to the boredom. I really can’t understand the praise this film is getting, including from Quentin Tarantino himself. Boring and we’ve basically seen it all before and better done. Acting is good from the leads but, that’s about it.