Peppermint delivers the action goods and will find its audience when it hits home video. Garner is a likable badass and there are some awesome R-rated kills but it’s still rather forgettable.
Plot: Riley North awakens from a coma after surviving a brutal attack that killed her husband and daughter. When the system shields the murderers from justice, Riley sets out to transform herself from citizen to urban guerrilla. Channeling frustration into motivation, the young widow spends years in hiding — honing her mind, body and spirit to become an unstoppable force. Eluding the underworld, the police and the FBI, Riley embarks on a deadly quest to deliver her own personal brand of punishment.
Review: Peppermint has snuck into theatres this weekend with very little in the way of hype; I don’t think I’ve seen any TV spots or trailers at all over the past few weeks. It is an R rated actioner so I guess they mostly just go under the radar and flourish when they hit home video.
From the director of Taken (Pierre Morel) Peppermint stars Jennifer Garner who becomes a female Punisher after her family is murdered and justice escapes the perpetrators. She disappears for 5 years and comes back tooled up and ready to take out the trash.
You can tell Jennifer Garner loved sinking her teeth into a meaty role like this where she gets to kick all kinds of ass while taking no prisoners. It has a huge bodycount with her trying to sound tough spewing lines like “I’ll kill you all” and so on. She is very sympathetic as Riley North and it’s a character I would like to see again if this turns into a franchise.
North starts off as a struggling wife and mother who can barely afford food so her husband contemplates ripping off a local drug dealer… what could possibly go wrong? This first half of the film I really enjoyed as it made North and her family feel like normal every people who are struggling like the rest of us so we are rooting for her from the start. Her transformation from weak and timid mother to Sarah Connor type badass is mostly believable and you want her to take out the bad guys in as vicious a fashion as possible.
Aside from that however, it’s generic fare and to be honest I only watched it last night and I have already forgotten most of it. That’s not to say I didn’t have a blast with Peppermint at the time as the action was slick even if it was a little small scale but there was no shaky cam or CG to ruin things.
It kept the action grounded and there are some decent kills (including head shots) but I was disappointed by the lack of hand to hand fight scenes or truly memorable set-pieces.
On the plus side it was hard not to cheer when Garner becomes the ultimate one woman army in the last half hour. Like Death Wish there is the moral question asked throughout if she is any better than the people who killed her family but it doesn’t really explore anything new.
I loved the opening scene in the car which has your mind going one way then turns it on its head as everything is not quite what it seems. I wish more of the story had done that as it’s mostly predictable stuff and you know what will happen 15 minutes before the protagonist.
The main villain looked like Bennett from Commando but was less flamboyant. At one point he is praying in front of what looks like a statue of Satan which was interesting as I was just watching something the other day which said that the drug cartels are filled with devil worshippers and that the leaders are demonic in nature.
Overall, Peppermint is a slick revenge actioner with Garner on top form and an impressive bodycount. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before but it’s a perfect Saturday night potboiler and worth watching when it hits Netflix.