Film Review PEPPERMINT (directed by Pierre Morel)

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by Joan Alperin on September 11, 2018

in Film


I have nothing against escapist entertainment. Every film I see does not have to be deep or meaningful in order for me to enjoy it. However it does have to be interesting with well-developed characters and a somewhat believable plot; Peppermint has none of those things.

The story is one that you’ve seen many many times — only much much better. John Wick is one of my favorite take-no-prisoners movie and so is Taken, which is directed by French film director and cinematographer Pierre Morel, who surprisingly directed this repetitious, dreary picture.

Peppermint — as the trailers have shown over and over again — is about one thing: Revenge. And that’s exactly what you get over and over and over again.

When the movie opens we meet Riley North (Jennifer Garner) who is crazy in love with her husband and their little girl, Carly (Cailey Fleming). The family is obviously struggling financially but that doesn’t stop them from making sure Carly has everything she needs to make her happy. So when no one shows up for Carly’s birthday party, Riley makes it her mission to give her daughter a night she’ll never forget and sadly that’s exactly what happens.

After a fun night at a carnival, the family is walking back to their car when out of the blue, Riley’s husband and child are killed in a drive-by shooting by members of a Mexican cartel run by Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba). Riley gets wounded and is hospitalized. When she gets out, she identifies the killers, but thanks to a corrupt judge and prosecutor they walk.

Flash forward five years, Riley is now living on Skid Row and has developed some serious fighting skills. In fact the way screenwriter Chad St. John created her character, she could probably wipe out ten navy seals without breaking a nail.

Right there is the first problem. We have no idea how Riley became a lethal fighting machine. We get brief glimpses of her life before she returned to L.A. but nothing substantial. If she ran into Mr. Miyagi, we never see it.

Second problem, for almost two hours we watch Ms. Garner shoot, kill and torture tattooed Mexican gang members, one white dude, and one suburban mom (who I have to say kind of deserves it). Unfortunately this gets very old very quickly.

This film is definitely no John Wick, yet at the press screening I attended the audience to my surprise broke out in loud applause as the credits rolled. This does have a couple of interesting twists in between guns blazing and people being blown apart but Peppermint left a bad taste in my mouth.

photos courtesy of STX Films/STX Entertainment

STX Films | 102 minutes | U.S.A.
in wide release September 7, 2018

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