‘Peppermint’ Review: An Unfortunately Unoriginal Movie

Recently, I got the chance to watch the new Jennifer Garner movie, Peppermint. To be completely frank though, this wasn’t necessarily a movie I was excited to see. For starters, I’d only seen a small snippet of the movie through a skippable trailer on YouTube. You know, the one that starts to play before the video you actually want to see. And it’s so long that YouTube lets you click on the “skip ad” button.

But I got free tickets to an advance screening. It’s also Jennifer Garner and it’s been a while since she’s been in an adult movie. At least not one that I’ve seen or heard of recently. So I thought, why not?

The Main Premise

Riley North (played by Jennifer Garner) holding a walkie talkie

Unfortunately, the story’s just too simple and completely unoriginal. The movie is about Garner’s character, Riley North, seeking revenge on the men who killed her family when the justice system fails her. It’s pretty much the baseline of the majority of superhero/vigilante stories. Which I guess makes sense given that Riley kind of becomes her own version of a vigilante.

The Good Parts

Riley North (played by Jennifer Garner)

But despite the extremely basic and overused storyline, there were some good parts:

  • The emotion’s there: Riley’s mourning for her family for the majority of this movie. And that’s important because that’s the whole reason she’s doing all of this anyway.
  • Jennifer Garner gets RIPPED in this film. And it helps with making her fight scenes that much cooler.
  • Annie Ilonzeh, who plays FBI agent Lisa Inman, was a great addition to the cast and a very pleasant surprise. I loved her in both Melrose Place and Arrow.
  • The reveal. Throughout the movie, they keep reiterating the fact that the justice system is broken. They also mention that Garcia, AKA the main bad guy, has guys inside the police department. Which is part of the reason the system’s so corrupt in the first place. In the end, there’s only one guy that infiltrates the department (which is important to the story) and it’s definitely unexpected.

Why It Doesn’t Work

(from left) Chris North (played by Jeff Hephner), Carly North (played by Cailey Fleming) and Riley North (played by Jennifer Garner)

Her poor family that’s killed isn’t even killed over something very substantial. Riley’s husband’s idiotic friend plans on stealing from this drug lord and Chris (Riley’s husband) refuses. Just the thought of people planning to steal from him was enough to kill him. And unfortunately, his daughter just became collateral damage.

The only difference between this story and a superhero origin story is that she’s not doing it for the good of the people (necessarily). She’s doing it because she wants justice for her husband and her daughter. And everyone knows exactly who she is and why she’s killing them. After she gets justice for her family, there isn’t a clear ending for where she goes next. Maybe it ended the way it did in hopes of a sequel. But considering how basic this story is, I’m not counting on it.

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