Spoilers ahead (and to the sides, and behind you). My review is here.
By the end of Gunpowder Milkshake, Sam’s aim is to end this violent tit-for-tat situation so 8 year old Emily has a future, which means getting The Firm off her back. Jim McAlester’s mob is now off the scene, after Sam, her mum and the Librarians destroy them in a gun (and knife, and axe) battle in the diner, when freeing the kidnapped (again!) Emily. But The Firm needs to be dealt with in a different way… Check out my outline of the plot and that ending, below.
Sam is in her late 20s, having been abandoned by her mother Scarlet 15 years earlier. We later find out that Scarlet had shot dead the man who killed Sam’s father, a bad move that has left her running for her life for years.
Sam has been brought up by Nathan, head of PR for The Firm, and he has certainly put her to work. Now he sends her to sort out a man found stealing from the reputable arm of The Firm, though first she is ordered to swap her weapons for clean ones. She goes to the Library for this, a front for arms and somewhere she hasn’t been to in years. The three librarians — Anna May, Florence and Madeleine — are initially suspicious until Sam explains who she is.
She finds the thief but shoots him accidentally as they fight over his ringing phone. She realises why he stole the money: to get back his young daughter Emily, who has been kidnapped.
After taking the man to a Firm-run hospital, Sam goes against Nathan’s orders, taking the money and heading off to free Emily, promising to return the cash later. Nathan sends his men after her to bring her back in.
The money is destroyed in an explosion as the criminals try to escape, leaving Emily in Sam’s care while Sam is being sought by two underworld groups: The Firm, who still want their money; and crime boss Jim McAlester, who is seeking very brutal revenge on Sam for killing his son in a bloodbath earlier that day.
They go to see Emily’s dad in hospital but he’s already died. Nathan’s three thugs, there being treated for their injuries, take on Sam again, after the doctor gives her an injection which makes her unable to move her arms. She still wins of course, working with Emily.
With the money destroyed, Nathan tells Sam she is no longer under The Firm’s protection — and then offers her to Jim McAlester as a peace offering between the two crime organisations.
Nathan sends her to a building where he says he’s left a package to help her as she tries to escape. Emily thinks it might be a trap. After fighting off more men in the hospital parking garage, the two make it to the building, where they’re surprised by Scarlet, returning after 15 years. Sam tells Scarlet that at some point Emily will realise it was Sam who shot her dad.
After escaping a horde of attackers sent to the building (yes it was a trap), Scarlet, Sam and Emily hide out in the Library.
McAlester’s bus of goons turn up at the library and take on Sam, Scarlet and the Librarians. While the women dispatch most of their attackers, McAlester’s nephew Virgil shoots Madeleine and kidnaps Emily. Madeleine dies and is buried in the woods with an axe for a gravestone.
Virgil calls Sam. She agrees to hand herself in to McAlester and his cronies at the diner in exchange for Emily; she thinks she may have a chance as the diner has a no-guns policy, but Scarlet sees it as a suicide mission.
When Sam gets there she is massively outnumbered, and sees Emily sitting with Virgil. McAlester explains that Sam killing his son deprived him of the one person he understood in his family — he loves his daughters but doesn’t understand them. As revenge he is going to brutally torture Sam then kill her, and Emily will be released after she has been forced to watch.
The waitress comes to the table, but it’s actually Scarlet — and the two waitresses behind the counter are Florence and Anna May. Scarlet tells Sam to leave with Emily, which she does. The shooting starts, with McAlester’s men, without their guns, fighting back with knives, axes and hammers. Jim McAlester is killed. Virgil tries to hide behind another goon, holding the man’s body up in front of him, then jumps out of a window, but is shot dead as he tries to run away.
Sam is asleep in the little wooden shack near where they buried Madeleine, dreaming that Emily tries to kill her. On waking she apologises to Emily, who wants to know who sent Sam to kill her father. Sam explains about The Firm, and how they think they are untouchable.
Next, we see Emily dressed up in a Girl Scout uniform turning up on Nathan’s very grand doorstep selling cookies. He knows who she is and takes her copy of Little Women from her. A note flutters out, which says “look into your heart”. He looks down and sees a target light from a gun pointing at his chest. Sam calls him on a mobile phone; she is aiming the gun at him from elsewhere in his garden. She tells him he must inform his colleagues at The Firm that she knows everything about them and where they are, and she can come for them without them ever knowing. They are to leave Sam and co alone from now on so Emily can have a future.
The last scene shows Sam, Scarlet, Anna May, Florence and Emily driving off in the Librarians’ campervan.
I said in my review the ending was a bit of a non-event, after all that violence, though it sets everything up for a sequel. Endings like this are always a bit of a let down me though. I like closure, and Sam’s threats to The Firm’s Board could have been made at any time. They know full well that any of their assassins could turn at some point, and know where the bigwigs from The Firm live. Sam does have her family around her now, and someone to defend (Emily), but after all the fights it doesn’t really fit. Still, despite my very mixed review I’d probably watch a sequel (as long as we get more Librarians). Or maybe a film with Emily all grown up and running the Library? Maybe that underworld is actually impossible to truly escape from? I mean, just look at J*** W***!
Gunpowder Milkshake is out in UK cinemas and on Sky Cinema on 17 September 2021. It’s also available on streaming service NOW via the Sky Cinema Pass
Who ever typed this review mispelled the nephews name Virgil then next column it’s spelled virgin.
Thank you – fixed.