Peppermint

In two heartbeats, Riley North loses everything. Her husband and young daughter are gunned down in a drive-by shooting. The only thing that licks at her grief is justice. She stumbles out of the hospital to identify her assailants in a line-up, and then confronts them in court. But the justice system fails Riley (Jennifer Garner), and the killers walk free.

Contorted with rage and sadness, Riley disappears, and spends the next several years obsessing about revenge. When she resurfaces in Los Angeles on the 5th anniversary of Peppermint-1her family’s murder, she’s got a plan, and she’s got the skills and weapons to see it through. First, a trio of dead gang members are found hanging, execution-style, from the carnival ride where Riley spent her last moments with her daughter. It’s a message to the city, to the cops, and to the criminals she holds responsible. She’s coming for them.

And for the next 24 hours her time (102 minutes our time), it’s a goddamned bloodbath. The cops don’t know how to stop her and the city rallies behind her, their angel, their vigilante.

Jennifer Garner steps very nimbly back into badassery, and it feels like the genre has missed her. Although her character benefits from movie magic as the bad guys politely wait their turn to attack, single file, never overwhelming or completely outnumbering her, she still feels somewhat real. Maybe it’s the mom in her that never dies – she’s a kamikaze filled with revenge lust, but she still remembers to buckle her seat belt. Maybe it’s because Garner is a fierce mama bear in real life, admirably so. Riley is tough, but she hasn’t forgotten her humanity. She is haunted by the ghost of her little girl but has a soft spot for all children, sometimes to her own detriment. Otherwise, she’s not playing around. She wears boots, not heels, because she means business. Does she maintain unrealistically cute beachy waves? She does. But her hair is dirty, and her body is coated in blood and grime and she basically goes through hell – twice.

Director Pierre Morel knows a little something about putting families in jeopardy – he’s the guy behind Taken. Peppermint has a certain visual style that’s fun to watch. Morel takes us to the gritty streets of Los Angeles, plants us firmly in skid row, and the wrong side of the boulevard, but he also has Garner shooting up a pinata shop in gleeful contrast. The action sequences are tight, the action is hot, and Garner has fun uttering the perfect one-liner as the body count multiplies.

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14 thoughts on “Peppermint

  1. raistlin0903

    I am going to be seeing this one on saturday. Great to see Garner return to tge action genre (she was so good in tv series Alias). Looking forward to this one and as always, great post!😊

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  2. Bryan Fagan

    I was sold on Garner during her days in Alias. She’s a great actor and she fit the part. I was hoping she’d return to form. She’s been in ‘normal-vill’ way to long.

    I was waiting for you guys to review this and hoping it was a plus. I didn’t know Pierre Morel directed. I now see why it hit the high mark. He’s one of my favorites.

    Thanks!!!!

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  3. allthingsthriller

    I’ve been curios about this one. I’m all in for a good revenge movie as long as it isn’t Revenge. To me, that movie was long on style and blood and short on everything else. I trust you Jay. Peppermint sounds fun. I’m in.

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  4. Lloyd Marken

    Well of course you know I’ll be watching this and admiring those improbable beach waves. Aesthetics aside I’m disappointed Garner hasn’t had a bigger career. I mean she’s doing ok and plenty of deserving talents miss out on getting a chance but I do think she’s underrated as an actress and hope this doesn’t lead to limited typecasting. I’m interested in that HBO show coming out to see if it shows off her range. But this is a good first part of a double pincer move showing her back in action.

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