Peppermint Movie Review
Director Pierre Morel is known for the movie “Taken” which made Liam Neeson famous again, and revenge murder cool again. Since then, the movie “John Wick” showed that revenge murder could be an artistic ballet of bullets and bodies. So now with an added healthy dose of “Death Wish”, which is the old-school revenge murder original, he has a new movie. “Peppermint”, and you might want to call it — “Taken by a Death Wish with Jane Wick”. Revenge has never tasted so minty…
Riley North (Jennifer Garner) is a loving wife to her hard-working husband and mother to her precious daughter. But there is a local Los Angeles drug kingpin named Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba) who is pissed that her husband ALMOST was part of a plot to rip off a Garcia drug house. Her husband called and backed out, but that did not stop Garcia to put out a hit on the whole family. In a hail of bullets, the North family was torn to pieces, with only Riley barely hanging on. The police were attempting to talk her out of being an eyewitness and giving testimony. She thought that she needed to get that scum off the street.
Riley worked with Det. Moises (John Ortiz) and Det. Carmichael (John Gallagher Jr.) from the LAPD to ID the perps. Then the slimly defense lawyer for Diego Garcia visits Riley and attempts to buy her silence, or at least threaten her safety. The three gang members get off — due to the bribes and payoffs to dirty judges and dirty Assistant District Attorneys and dirty police officials. Riley is going to be taken to mental hospital, but she escapes — and is not heard from until five years later. And she comes back with a vengeance!
Five years of martial arts training and firearms training have made Riley a well-oiled revenge murder machine. She comes back to LA and hides out in the Skid Row area, becoming a local ‘avenging angel’. But on the five-year anniversary of her tragedy, Riley sets out to take on Diego Garcia and his minions, and will not let any LAPD or FBI official stand in her way. She makes quick work of the three main perps, the corrupt judge, the dirty D.A. and most any other people who were involved. There are still some bad cops out there, and the main bad guy Diego Garcia. There are quite a few hard targets that Riley will use for her next practice.
Riley takes out Garcia’s drug house and his main drug warehouse, and they she goes after the fortified Garcia mansion. Det. Carmichael has an idea about where Riley might be staying, and the FBI also on to her location. Det. Moises is wondering if there is information getting from the police to the Garcia organization. Riley takes a beating over and over again, but she still has the juice to go after anyone who is working with Garcia’s gang. When the media starts to track Riley in real-time, the social media goes nuts to support her. It does not matter how many people Riley has killed…
“Peppermint” is a hot mess of female revenge fantasy and weapon worship. There are huge gaps, like the five-year disappearance of Riley North, that go unexplained. Where did she go? Where did she get the training, and where did she get the money to live on for all those years? They explain something about how she took money from the bank where she worked before she left, but – come on! That will last for five years? There were times in the screening that brought (unintentional) laughter. Not good for an action flick.
This “Peppermint” shtick is weak attempt to turn Jennifer Garner into an action hereo, making Riley North into a new ‘Jason Bourne’ or ‘John Wick’. Nah, that’s not in the cards. But if you team her up with ‘The Atomic Blond’…
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Screenplay by: Chad St. John
Starring: Jennifer Garner, John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr., Juan Pablo Raba
Length: 102 minutes
MPAA Rating: R - for strong violence and language throughout
Genre: Revenge Murder Action