The future is female…that is unless that future involves guns, cartels, and vigilante justice. Most of you should remember the media’s meltdown over the film Death Wish that starred Bruce Willis earlier this year. A film that was savaged as racist, alt-right, problematic, and a Fox News wet dream by progressive critics, so it is interesting that a film starring Jennifer Garner with almost the same premise gets to fly completely under the radar. It is also interesting that members of the ‘Punch Nazis’ crowd have such a problem with on-screen vigilantes or at least the ones they don’t approve of.
It has been a while since we have seen the badass Jennifer Garner on-screen. The actress who has been booked as the family mom in the last few years is back to doing what she does best and that’s is shooting bad guys in the face. Peppermint is a film set in Los Angeles; Riley North (Garner) is just an everyday suburban housewife until her family is gunned down in retaliation by a local crime syndicate. After a corrupt justice system allows the murderers to walk free, Riley goes into hiding for five years until the time is right to finally seek vengeance on all of those who wronged her.
If you hated Death Wish, you’ll probably hate this movie too. If you liked Death Wish, you will probably enjoy this film better. The story has some implausibilities due to the fact that Garner pulls off more Batman-like feats than Bruce Wayne. It feels like there were details that you were waiting for the film to explain but never did like what exactly Riley did during those 5 years that saw her return as an angel of death. Outside of that, you have a fulfilling movie. While the premise is not original it definitely isn’t boring. Peppermint doesn’t waste much time getting right to the point. When you see Riley stapling her wound shut in the first 5 minutes after taking out her family’s killer, you are pretty much right in the middle of an action-packed thrill ride. The character works not only because she is cold and ruthless, it works because Garner is in the role. Director Pierre Monet leaves the door open for a sequel and while it may be too early to predict whether this film will be successful enough to get one, it would definitely be a film to look forward to.
Once again, I predict another split in how audiences and critics will perceive this film. While critics won’t be as intensely angry this time around because there is a female lead, any film that glorifies firearm use and doesn’t have the main villain be a Trump supporter is destined for critical dismay these days. What audiences will see is an effective thriller that ensures the reality that we love vengeance stories and we are always going to root for anti-hero vs the dangerous criminal element no matter who is it. Peppermint is a solid action film and maybe the start of Garner’s jumpstart back into the genre.
Editor’s Note: Well…Called It