Peppermint: Jennifer Garner Carries Predictable Revenge Flick to the Finish Line

2.5 out of 5 stars (decent)

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Jennifer Garner is an extremely talented actress.  Gaining fame on TV’s Alias, Garner continued to show her range across multiple genres, often being a high point in most of her films.  That continues with Peppermint, a revenge thriller in the vein of Death Wish that, despite a mostly predictable script and overzealous editing, manages to succeed on Garner’s devotion to the material and some fun action sequences.  In short, this movie delivers exactly what it promises.  If you want to see Jennifer Garner kicking butt and taking names like no tomorrow, then you’ll be more then satisfied.  If you want something deeper, look elsewhere.

Garner is Riley North, a devoted soccer mom.  She and husband Chris (Jeff Hephner) take daughter Carly (Cailey Fleming) to an amusement park for her birthday, only for Chris and Carly to be gunned down by Cartel members after Chris dropped out of a drug deal.  After witnessing a comically corrupt police force let the shooters off scot-free, Riley goes off the grid for five years, re-emerging as a take-no-prisoners vigilante who will bring down the Cartel or die trying, all with Detectives Carmichael (John Gallagher, Jr.) and Beltran (John Ortiz) in tow.

Peppermint is a predictable movie.  If you’ve seen the trailer, you know exactly what you’re going to get.  Jennifer Garner fits the role perfectly, communicating Riley’s emotions without going over-the-top and taking down guys 3 times her size with ease.  It’s a shame the other actors aren’t on Garner’s level, but they do their jobs well enough.  The level of gore is also solid, providing bloody fun without grossing you out too much.  The film’s only notable flaw is occasionally stylized editing techniques (speeding up events that don’t need to be, slow-motion, etc).  I’ve never been a fan of this editing style, and thought it had been abandoned.  However, this is one of the better entries in the predictable revenge film genre due to Garner’s dedicated performance and the expected action, so I can’t complain too much.

Peppermint has an engaging performance from Jennifer Garner and some fun, bloody action to compensate for its predictability and logic chasms.  Other critics have been beating this film to a pulp like Garner does her victims for being politically tone-deaf or offensive, and to them I say this: Shut your darn brain off and just enjoy the fireworks.  See it.

Rated R for Strong Violence And Language Throughout

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