“Peppermint” stars Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, and Method Man. Released on September 7, 2018, the film is about a mother who seeks justice against the people who killed her family.
The film is directed by Pierre Morel, who also directed “District 13”, “Taken”, “From Paris with Love”, and “The Gunman”. Sometimes when a new horror film fails to deliver the scares, I turn to something that’s more on the action and less on the creeps. This latest thriller sees Jennifer Garner returning to her action roots after appearing in several drama films, including this year’s “Love, Simon”. The last time she ever headlined an action film as a main lead was 13 years ago when she starred in the superhero spin-off, “Elektra”, which didn’t sit well with critics and audiences. From my personal view, Jennifer Garner has done very well in providing plenty of charm and heart in her dramatic roles, even though some of her films were either decent, poor, or just plain forgettable. Her roles in the action genre, however, still left me with a big question mark because I haven’t seen her in some of the action films as much as I see her in dramas. So this will be my first time watching her beat the crud out of injustice as opposed to her spreading kindness and love to everyone. Was it able to impress me? Not really, but for what it’s supposed to be, it had its moments.
The film follows the traditional vigilante narrative that most of us are familiar with, which has a mother (Garner) becoming Batman with a kill code, or in this case, Batwoman with a kill code. While its story has a few parts that were stylishly directed by Pierre Morel as well as having plenty of subpar thrills that will impress those looking for escapism, the amount of simplicity and the lack of interesting plot points may prevent a lot of strong-minded people from joining the main character on her quest for vengeance. Clearly, if you’ve seen one revenge-seeking film, you’ve practically seen them all. The plot also expresses two of the most provocative and engrossing subjects that we’re still dealing with in today’s society, which is how people see justice and law enforcements getting paid off by drug cartels. If you’re going into this movie expecting an emotional and disturbing depiction of those subjects, you will sadly be disappointed because the way they explore them was far from emotional. They work well with the film’s narrative, but in terms of the screenplay and the characters, that’s hardly the case. Jennifer Garner once again delivered a convincing performance as Riley North, a heart-broken, justice-seeking mother. Even though it doesn’t match her performance in some of her drama films, it just goes to show that she’s likable enough to carry her own film, no matter what type of genre. Gallagher Jr. and Ortiz were also fine in their roles as Carmichael and Moises, respectively, although not enough to match Garner’s portrayal.
Overall, “Peppermint” is a piece of action candy that lacks the everlasting minty flavor compared to the other delicious pieces. Despite Garner’s performance and its tolerable thrills, the film suffers from its familiar narrative and the inability to further explore its timely and provocative themes. It’s not as terrible as people say it was, but it doesn’t come close to being an average thought-provoking thrill ride.