R Dir: Pierre Morel | Universal | 1h 41min
Plot: What’s it about?
Acting as something of a female led Death Wish, Peppermint gives Jennifer Garner a chance to show off her action skills. Fans who appreciated her in the TV show Alias will likely be fond of her role her. Sadly, the same might not be said of this film. The critics tore it to shreds when it arrived in theaters a short while ago, but it’s not quite the disaster you might’ve been led to believe. I can hardly defend it, either, but you could do worse. A character (whether male of female) who’s suffered a tragic loss, seeking revenge is hardly original, but the execution (pardon the pun) is often what matters. Peppermint keeps its wheels moving, but it does nothing to rise about average. It’s something if you rent one night or catch on cable that might hold your attention, but will be quickly forgotten by the time the credits roll. If anything, it shows that Garner has more than what it takes to carry a film like this. I do hope next time that the film is more worthy of her efforts. Let’s take a look at what we can expect here.
Garner plays Riley North, a wife to Chris (Jeff Hephner) and mother to Carly (Cailey Fleming). The film begins with an action scene where we see a struggle which ends with a man getting shot in the head. We cut back to five years earlier. Riley is a banker, but struggles to make ends meet. Her husband, Chris is a mechanic whose friend tries to talk him into a robbery of a powerful drug lord. Chris declines, but not before it’s discovered that they were already plotting something. Since it’s they daughter’s birthday, Chris and his wife and daughter go for pizza and then to a carnival. While Riley is getting them ice cream, Chris and his daughter are gunned down. Riley is wounded, but her husband and daughter are killed. Riley is able to identify the killers, but the corrupt justice system allows for them to be released. Even prior to the hearing, Riley is approached by one of the drug lord’s men to try and bribe her, but she won’t accept. The hearing results in Riley getting tasered and transferred to a psychiatric ward, but she manages to escape while en route. It’s here that the film flashes to five years later and Riley seeking vengeance. We learn that three of the shooters have been killed and hanged from a ferris wheel. This is where Riley’s husband and daughter were killed. We see some of the detectives piece together clues and come to the realization that it’s Riley that did the killings. The film then follows Riley in revenge mode and the detectives and criminals on her tail.
It’s not hard to guess where Peppermint will head. There were times that I wondered just how Riley would get herself out of the next tough situation and that added a bit to my enjoyment of the film, but mostly the film is routine. I appreciate an R-rated action outing as much as the next guy, but I do think the film could’ve used a bit energy at times. If anything, it stands as a good showcase to see Garner kick some butt. She just needs the film to meet her halfway next time.
Video: How’s it look?
We get a satisfying AVC encoded 2.39:1 transfer that looks about as good as I recall it looking in theaters. That’s a good thing. It’s also expected today for such a recent film. There are both, darker and brighter lit scenes, but all are displayed accurately I’d say. The print looks fine and the details are evident throughout. Colors were all rich and deep, making this a worthy transfer.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Also rocking hard is the DTS HD track. The track has a good bit to work with as there’s lots of action to keep things moving here. Vocals have the strong clarity I expect as well. The strong visuals are matched with an audio track that keeps us engaged. All things told, this track satisfied.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Pierre Morel provides his thoughts on the film. It’s your basic track that covers the usual notes we might expect. We hear of casting, locations, stunts and various other things. If you’re interested, this track is solid.
- Justice – An all too brief (2 minute) feature that’s not just short, but largely promotional in nature. It’s basically an extended trailer for the film.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve no other reason than to see Jennifer Garner in full revenge mode, then you might enjoy Peppermint. I am a bit indifferent towards it, but the action is there. The story can be surprisingly slow at times and I wish the film were more ambitious. It’s not a bad rental, however, with certain caveats.