Action Drama

Review: Jennifer Garner is Back in All Her Badass Glory in ‘Peppermint’

September 7, 2018Ferdosa Abdi

Serious ethical issues aside, it is truly a blast seeing Jennifer Garner embrace her inner Punisher in Peppermint. The synopsis for the movie should have Marvel raise an eyebrow, but it is the basic setup for any revenge story, with Garner playing a mother and wife who finds herself to be the lone survivor of a tragic shooting that takes the lives of her husband and daughter.

As Riley North, Garner expects justice to be quick and swift. However, little does she realize that the assailants are connected. After witnessing the complete lack of humanity and the injustice done to her and her family, she disappears for 5 years. And when she returns, all hell breaks loose in Los Angeles.

Garner in an action film should be a norm. Just as Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson have found their home in the genre, Garner should have a place right next to them. After years of romantic comedies and dramas, the actress is once again just as lethal and badass as she was from her Elektra and Alias days. Here, she is channels Frank Castle from The Punisher, but she makes it her own. Meanwhile, director Pierre Morel captures her intensity beautifully. It is clear that a lot of the movie was informed by Garner's range and skill as an actress, which work to elevate the basic plot, and despite some questionable editing choices that should have died in the early 2000s, Morel creates a vehicle worthy of his star, allowing her to unleash in this over-the-top revenge flick.

Otherwise, the film is very straightforward, but there are still a couple of surprises that elevate Peppermint above your average B-level action extravaganza. There are some genuine twists and turns that, in hindsight, are cleverly set up. But though how Riley goes about her revenge business is rooted in some recognizable reality, the inability of others to find or capture her is ridiculous, not to mention the abundance of weaponry she is able to obtain. That said, from the very first scene of the movie it is clear that Morel is not phoning it in, as a lesser director would have almost certainly done with a premise like this.

All in all, Peppermint is a fun entry in the action genre that will keep you on the edge of your seat, with Garner giving it her all playing the hard-working, devoted mother who is forced to adapt to a cruel world. It is refreshing to see women given s chance to shine in lead an action role, and Peppermint succeeds not only in that regard, but in actually being a good film. The movie also has a shameless setup for a sequel, and if one were to happen, it would be welcomed with open arms.

Peppermint releases September 7th, 2018 from Elevation Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for strong violence and language throughout. Its runtime is 1 hr. 42 min.

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