Thursday, September 13, 2018

Movie Review: "Peppermint" (2018)

Director: Pierre Morel
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

A grieving mother takes revenge on the gang that murdered her family and the corrupt officials who let them go free.


Jennifer Garner Peppermint Movie
"How come the feds care about a squirrely soccer mom?" (Image Source)
Nothing goes with stapling a gaping wound in your leg back together like a Hostess chocolate Zinger and vodka before noon! "Peppermint" is directed by Pierre Morel, who has directed other such action movies as "Taken," "From Paris With Love," and "The Gunman." It is written by Chad St. John, whose only other feature writing credit is the Gerard Butler action flick "London Has Fallen." This story centers on Riley North (Jennifer Garner), a typical loving mother who works at a bank and helps her daughter sell cookies for her "we can't legally call it a Girl Scouts troop" troop. Her auto mechanic husband briefly considers joining up with some guy to steal money from a local drug cartel for some nonsensical reason because apparently, he needs to get money for a house even though they already live in a house????? The cartel leader they were going to rob catches wind of this potential crime and decides to kill anyone who even momentarily considered doing it to make an example out of them. Because of this, Riley's husband and daughter are gunned down at a local carnival right in front of her. When the perpetrators of the crime go free, Riley decides to take the law into her own hands. She goes off the radar for five years to prepare herself to exact revenge on those who killed her family, including the gunmen and the corrupt cops, lawyers, and judges who let them walk free.
Juan Pablo Raba Peppermint Movie
"Don't be stupid. You'll only get dead, and it won't change anything." (Image Source)
We like Jennifer Garner, and we appreciate that she's trying to break out of the typical role she has always played in the past by playing Riley North in "Peppermint." Unfortunately, this a messy, basic revenge thriller with relatively no pomp or circumstance and a ton of flaws. It follows the same essential premise as "Death Wish" or even "The Punisher" where a family gets killed, the law enforcement sucks and is corrupt, so the protagonist must handle justice themselves. The only real difference between "Peppermint" and those movies is the gender of the main character.

We want to see a bitchin' vigilante movie where a woman takes no prisoners, but this isn't it. It appears that those responsible for this film have prioritized Riley North having her makeup on point every time she goes out to commit crimes to fulfill her revenge mission. C'mon now, we can't have her looking like a hot mess on a security camera, now can we?! *sarcasm* We don't want to count how many times we rolled our eyes at this. Putting on lip gloss would not be high on our checklist for us if we were looking to go shoot up some cartel members. That being said, Jennifer Garner does the best job she can with the material she is given, and her presence helps elevate this project to a more tolerable level.

Beyond Garner's involvement, the writing is borderline atrocious. Besides being contrived, if you have seen Chad St. John's other film, you would know he'd never met a stereotype he didn't like. He certainly brings every single solitary one he can to the table here. The Mexican drug dealers look, talk, dress, and act like stereotypes, and they even use a goddamn piƱata shop to launder their dirty money, that's the level of racism we're dealing with in "Peppermint." Others might not care or even notice this, but it bothered us from the get-go. You know a movie is racist when you look at something like "Sicario" and say, "boy, that's refreshingly docile." Finally, while some of the action sequences are okay, they are almost always poorly edited. Most of these scenes are hacked to bits with some sort of bizarre blurry zoom-in cuts that frenetically move all over the place. Quite frankly, it made us dizzy, and it's just a weird "artistic" choice to make.
Jennifer Garner Peppermint Movie
"You didn't serve justice, your honor. I will." (Image Source)
Though there are a couple of entertaining aspects in "Peppermint," we were completely underwhelmed with it and probably won't remember we saw it come year's end. Please give Jennifer Garner the action vehicle she deserves because this fell short and flat for us.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
MDB's Rating: ~6.7/10
RT Rating: ~13%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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