Jennifer Garner is back on the big screen in full on ass-kicking mode in her new action film Peppermint. In the film, Garner plays Riley North, a young mother who is juggling work and a family, when on the day of her daughter's birthday tragedy strikes as her husband and young daughter are killed in a drive-by shooting. When corrupt law enforcement fails her and sets her family's killers free she is devastated. As a woman with nothing to lose Riley finds herself on a path of revenge that will be five years in the making. During that time she will go from everyday soccer mom to an unstoppable force seeking vengeance against those who took everything from her.
This was a film I was really looking forward to seeing. Anyone who is a fan of shows like Alias knows that Jennifer Garner can be a total badass, so I was fully ready to watch her unless hell on the men that destroyed her family. While Riley does tend to destroy everything in her path for revenge, something about this role just felt far-fetched. Maybe it was the pacing of the film or the script, but you are just so suddenly thrown into her going from timid wife to cold-blooded killer that it feels like reading a book that someone has ripped out the first 1/3 pages of. I wanted to see more background on how she makes this insane transition. In the movie, Riley drops dead off the grid for five years without any local law enforcement being able to track her down. Do you think the average soccer mom would know how to do that? Probably not. Mistakes would be made, slip-ups would happen because most people who are already under serious mental stress would have a hard time thinking clearly enough to remember to avoid street cameras and have the knowledge of where to look for fake ID's and passports. I truly feel like the film would have benefitted more from some serious backstory on her transformation instead of relying on a few short flashbacks and cutscenes.
The story itself was entertaining to watch. You basically know what is coming through for most of the film, though there is a small plot twist toward the end. There are some truly fun fight scenes and really funny one-liners in the film that keeps you engaged. Jennifer Garner knows how to play this character with no issue. She is great in the movie. She would have been better if the lack of story wasn't holding her back. This film is very much a female combination of The Punisher meets John Wick meets the guy from Death Wish and honestly that has so much potential for greatness but falls short this go round. I can only hope that if this movie turns out a sequel that the studio looks at possibly new writers to give us better source material to pull from because aside from that Jennifer Garner reminds me of why I love female action heroes. Please don't let her talent go to waste (I am looking at you - writers from Elektra).
Overall, I scored Peppermint with a C. This film was alright and good for a night out at the movies, but just don't expect too terribly much in terms of plot. If you want to see Jennifer Garner return to her ass-kicking roots, then you are in for a treat here with Peppermint.
Don't miss Peppermint in theaters everywhere September 7th, 2018.