Hot Take: Flat revenge flick with an insane body count and one of the worst titles in recent memory. First, Ben Affleck now this? Jennifer Garner can’t get away from disaster quick enough.
Earlier this year, we were treated to the reboot of Death Wish nobody asked for. Now, Peppermint offers the female equivalent nobody wanted. With Jennifer Garner in the main role as Riley North, a mom-turned-widow who seeks to kill anyone and everyone (AND WE MEAN EVERYONE!!!) associated with the death of her husband and daughter who were gunned down outside of a county fair, we’re treated to the most monotone performance of her career. She cries a few times but quickly snaps back to robotic killing mode and even when she gets some bumps and bruises, it’s nothing a little duct tape won’t fix. No, seriously. After getting cut deeply on the leg in the opening scene, Garner’s Riley limps off to skid row to an abandoned van where there’s some vodka (to clean the cut, of course), a staple gun (to close the deep cut) and some duct tape to hold it together. You’d think that… oh wait, there’s no point to think about this NRA wet dream of a revenge flick that has mom finding all the people responsible for the death of her daughter and husband and those that aided the killers in escaping any legal punishment.
It’s hard to imagine a worse film for Garner’s talents. It’s been 17 years since she was cast in Alias and even in that role as CIA spy Sydney Bristow, Garner had personality and a spark that helped that show manage 5 seasons and earn 4 Emmy nominations, 4 Golden Globe nominations and a Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama. None of that Garner is present in Peppermint as she delivers monotone one liners like, “I will kill every one of you. And then I’ll pretty much wing it from there.”
While January is easily the worst month for film, the first two weeks of September are usually pretty comparable as those two weeks usually attract the stuff that was just not good enough for summer or Awards season. This crater in the movie schedule is primed for films like Peppermint. It’s one of those films that on paper sounds okay enough but when played out on screen, all it is missing is a body count meter in the bottom of the screen to give the film the one over-the-top feature this revenge flick gone wrong is missing.
The worst part of the film is it’s playing into racial stereotypes which should do wonders for the pro-Trump, anti-immigration types who will see the generic Mexican drug lord behind it all and want to pull their MAGA hat out and hoot and holler every time Riley clips another one. And don’t worry for those of you into the bloodlust, she clips plenty. About halfway through, the body count is so distractingly high, you don’t even bother to ask further questions about the ridiculous plot of how Garner went from mild mannered wife to human exterminator over 5 years and instead wonder if Peppermint has more on-screen deaths than any other film in 2018. It’s so bloody and the killing spree so cold and emotionless, it’s hard to look at this film as a win for women’s equality but instead just another poor example of violent escapism playing out at the cinema. It’s lazy, unnecessary and Garner deserves (and is capable of) better than Peppermint.
You enjoyed the reboot of Death Wish earlier this year and thought, “Why aren’t there more movies like this?”
You’re more of a Tagalongs kind of guy or gal.