Seconds after we watch Jennifer Garner’s soccer mom grapple (and kill) a tattoed man in her car, she’s flashing back to years prior when she and her daughter had a run-in with a matching set of mother-daughter Girl Scout cookie-selling, classist mantra-slinging antagonists. Her daughter takes issue with Garner’s Riley North, questioning why she didn’t just punch the other mom in the face. North’s reply?
“You can’t go around punching people who are jerks because then you’re just as bad as they are.”
Back in the present, North is slinging bullets, punches, and knife thrusts into the assorted lower-level baddies that Juan Pablo Raba’s Diego Garcia sends her way. He’s the one who ordered her husband gunned down for even considering a role in robbing Garcia’s drug business, inadvertently signing the death warrant on her daughter as well. Like a love letter to Death Wish, Peppermint sends us down the rabbit hole of one ‘normal’ woman’s path of revenge.
While allusions are made to North’s European vacation to train a la Bruce Wayne’s Batman training with Ra’s al Ghul and others, explaining how she morphs from peace-loving, put-upon bank employee to Alias ex-employee, there’s not much that ties this story to anything resembling reality. The regular earmarks exist here for a good revenge flick: the reason for revenge, the violent crusade, and the ultimate collision, plus the way we’re sold on who the bad, inside law enforcement character is… until that gets flipped.
Does Peppermint cut any new path? Maybe not. But Garner is watchable, whether it’s the soccer mom or the avenging angel who brings hope and justice to those needing it.
Special features include “Justice,” and there is an audio commentary by director Pierre Morel.