When is the line crossed between justice and revenge? How would you react if something terrible was done to a loved one, and those responsible were not held accountable for it, especially if the legal system was not on your side? With “Peppermint,” a glimpse into that type of situation is directed by Pierre Morel (Taken) and stars Jennifer Garner.
Garner plays Riley North, married and raising a daughter while struggling to do so. When a drug kingpin named Diego (Juan Pablo Raba) gets wind of a plot by Riley’s husband, Chris (Jeff Hephner), to rip him off, a drive-by kills both father and daughter. A crooked justice system (all under Diego’s payroll) lets the shooters free, and Riley goes underground for five years to deal with all of it. When she resurfaces, it means bad news for the bad guys as she extracts her revenge, vigilante style.
This is a dark film, and the way it is shot reflects it in a good way. Taking place in Los Angeles, where the economic classes are all present, it is all seen as a nice complement to the script. The supporting cast including John Gallagher, Jr., John Ortiz, and Raba all are serviceable here, and Garner herself is on par for most of the other roles she has done. Her previous roles that have called on her physicality like “Daredevil” or “Alias” pay off here, with good fight choreography.
“Peppermint” does have a basic revenge plot, but not in a way that Morel did with “Taken”. This was a bit more predictable than that film, and in certain cases, I was able to see some of the bigger reveals coming a mile away. As advertised, this has some violent scenes in it, so be prepared there, which was about the right amount. If there is something for me to criticize, it would be that there was not enough time spent during the five year jump to show how North went from housewife almost to Navy S.E.A.L. There are glimpses here and there, but I would have liked to see that progression more. All of that said, leave your critic hat at the door so you can enjoy this at either a Saturday morning or second run screening.