Peppermint movie cast: Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr, John Ortiz, Juan Pablo Raba
Peppermint movie director: Pierre Morel
Peppermint movie rating: 1.5 stars
It’s hard not to fall for Jennifer Garner. What else are those deep, deep dimples for? But Peppermint does it for you. Here she is playing a mother who loses her daughter and husband in a shooting before her eyes, here she is a woman who proceeds to strike fear into the heart of the entire system, and here she is also playing angel to all the children she encounters along the way. And yet, you won’t feel anything for her.
That’s an unkind cut given the bodily harm alone that Garner endures through this revenge flick by the director of Taken. That includes beatings, bullets, black eye, and one-month coma — we are not including the two bad haircuts she suffers as the grieving mother.
The deaths of Riley’s (Garner) daughter and husband are the result of a hare-brained idea to rob a local drug lord, that the husband almost agrees to. We are meant to glimpse a loving family in one montage of a birthday trip to the Christmas carnival, but it is the most warmth-free threesome you may encounter in a while. Riley identifies the killers, but the drug lord pulls enough strings from the judge down to ensure that all walk.
Five years later, all those involved in the murders and that sham trial start dying one by one, and horrifically. A better film would explore that five-year journey of Riley, or at the very least how the wiry Riley manages to hang three of the killers upside down from a Ferris Wheel. But Peppermint skirts all that to give us a tough-as-nails Riley who can melt-as-butter at the sight of children.
Social media is used somewhat cleverly at one point, but that may not be due to trying. Except for its fuzzy warm name, Peppermint is happier swimming in cliches, down to those who inhabit the Mexican drug world. Wait, there is another welcome exception. Riley may seem to care little for her life, but she never steps out without strapping on a bullet-proof jacket.