Review by Bradley Smith
While watching Peppermint, I realized I have missed Sydney Bristow. And although Riley North is not quite the same character, it is great to see Jennifer Garner in this above average action/thriller. The plot is a touch predictable and the violence borders on excessive, but the cinematography and choreography more than make up for any shortcomings. Plus, the story of a mother taking justice into her own hands when the corrupted legal system shields her family’s murderers will probably speak to many in today’s America.
Five years ago, Riley North lost her husband and daughter in a tragic shooting just because her husband had been approached about committing a crime against a worse criminal. Sadly, her tragedy is compounded when the murderers get to walk, and she nearly loses her freedom. So, she goes on the run spending the next five years traveling the globe turning herself into one of the greatest superpower-less vigilantes known to film.
When the film starts, she’s already made the journey and returned home to seek revenge; the backstory is told in a flashback after squeezing in some action and recovery in the present. But she isn’t exclusively set on revenge. She also takes time to fight injustice where she sees it, prompting the local community to consider her a guardian angel. Naturally, the local police and the federal government see her in a different light and the film bounces between them trying to track her down and Riley committing what could arguably be horrible atrocities, softened by the context.
Despite the potential moral debate of vigilantes and corruption, the film is exciting and thrilling. Like all movies, this one is not without some problems. For example, the climax of the movie made me wonder if federal agents have any security on their phones. And a lot of it is predictable, like a cop and/or federal agent being revealed as crooked; though I was wrong about which cop and/or federal agent. And the “perfect” troop mom from the flashback, you just know she’ll pop up in a humorous way somewhere on present day Riley’s radar.
There are still some surprises and most of the film will keep you on the edge of your seat. With the visual effects and Garner’s fighting ability, Peppermint is definitely worth a look, but not so much for the faint of heart.
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