Hello all, and welcome to my review of Peppermint! 😀
Starring: Jennifer Garner (Riley North), John Gallagher Jr. (Detective Stan Carmichael), John Ortiz (Detective Moises Beltran), Annie Ilonzeh (FBI Agent Lisa Inman), Juan Pablo Raba (Diego Garcia)
Plot (taken from IMDb):
“Peppermint is a revenge story centering on a young mother who finds herself with nothing to lose, and is now going to take from her enemies the very life they stole from her.”
Jennifer Garner (Riley North) – Watch out Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley – you have some competition for all time female badass in my heart, lol. I love Jennifer Garner anyway, but I especially love her in tough roles like this one. Riley was determined, and wholly focused on reaching her end goal, no matter the cost to herself, but she never failed to look out for others along the way.
John Gallagher Jr. (Detective Stan Carmichael) – One of the cops who worked on her case in the beginning, trying to catch the people who killed her family. He was interesting in that he was more complicated than he seemed at first. Honestly, his character surprised me in the end, lol.
John Ortiz (Detective Moises Beltran) – Carmichael’s partner, who also tried to help her in the beginning. While he was a little more hesitant to stand up to the cartel than Carmichael was, he also surprised me quite a bit.
Annie Ilonzeh (FBI Agent Lisa Inman) – An agent who apparently had been tracking Riley since she disappeared after the trial. I really wish they had delved into her investigation of Riley more – like how and why the FBI got involved in tracking Riley in the first place. The events leading up to Riley disappearing for 5 years don’t seem to be enough for the FBI to get involved, in my opinion, so I feel like there’s a little missed opportunity here. I really did like this character though, although her background in the case wasn’t fully explored. She had a strong sense of justice and seemed to want to get to the bottom of Riley’s case, despite the threat the cartel posed.
Juan Pablo Raba (Diego Garcia) – An impressively disgusting villain, lol. He really gives zero shits about killing anyone who gets in his way – including children, apparently. The actor did a great job of portraying a man who has completely lost his humanity.
This is one kind of movie I love that shockingly doesn’t involve romance as a main plot point, lol. I have to admit, I really do like most vigilante movies – especially where there’s a certain awareness of them not becoming the evil they’re trying to kill. Peppermint did a really great job with this.
The movie opens with Riley spending time with her family on her daughter’s birthday. They establish how close and loving they are, giving you a glimpse into their family life and their struggles.
The set up was well done, because even though these happy moments were brief, they were enough to make me care and get me emotionally invested.
Sooooo, this is also the part of the movie where I cried, because I’m a big baby and that’s just what I do.
The beginning is always the hardest to watch in a vigilante movie, because you KNOW horrible things are about to happen. Otherwise, there would be no movie. By the start of the trial against the men who killed Riley’s family I was more than ready for some serious bloodshed.
I feel like there were a few missed opportunities in this movie though.
The first thing I think they could have done better is how they show her doling out the vengeance. Lol, and here’s where my ragey, vengeful spirit rears its head – they completely gloss over what would have been a couple of the more satisfying kills.
Aaaaaaannnnnd now I sound like a serial killer, lol. But hear me out!
After Riley’s husband and daughter are killed, there are 6 people who she comes face to face with who really, REALLLY need to be destroyed in all kinds of horrible ways, including the 3 who murdered her family. Of those 6 who I spent the first 30 minutes of the movie hating with every fiber of my being, you only see 2 of them get knocked off. The other 4 are only mentioned in passing. Then she moves on to the bigger guys who gave the order to kill her family.
Personally, I wanted to watch her rain some doom down on all 6 of them. Oooooo – especially that dude who offered her money. But they left him out of the carnage completely, and his death only gets a brief mention. *sigh*
The second thing I think they missed out on was explaining how and where she got her badass vigilante assassin skills. How did she come up with this plan so quickly? How did she know where to go? Who to train with? How to stay under the radar until she was ready? They barely touched on anything pertaining to how she becomes a badass.
And, as mentioned in the character section, how did she end up on the FBI watch list? Yeah, she escapes from police custody on her way to a mental institution after the trial, but I wouldn’t think that would be enough for the FBI to care. I feel like they have bigger things on their plate.
Not that I’m going to complain about the resulting fight scenes, because you know I’m not, lol. I love fight scenes, and these were really impressive! Jennifer Garner always makes the fighting look more real, in my opinion, probably because she’s practiced martial arts in real life.
Small complaints aside though, I really appreciated that no matter what extremes she went to in order to get her vengeance, she never really completely lost herself. Deep down, she was still the loving mother and wife. She still gave a shit about other people, especially kids. While she tried not to get involved in anything, and was able to stay hidden, she did go out of her way to help people when she saw bad things happening.
I really loved this movie. I was invested the whole time, and I respected and loved the main character. Honestly, I’d be interested in seeing more of her story.
They left room for a sequel, and I really hope they go for it. Diego Garcia wasn’t the real leader of the cartel, after all. There’s still plenty of room for Riley to go after the guy who runs it all.
My rating for Peppermint: Cash-Worthy – This movie was awesome! Lol, I never really realized how much I tend to like vigilante movies, but I definitely have a soft spot for them. There were a couple nit-picky things that kept it from being Epic for me, but I really loved this movie over all. Check this one out if you like movies like The Punisher, Kill Bill, or John Wick, or vigilante movies in general. 😀
My Rating System:
Epic: This movie is so mind-bogglingly awesome that I may go see it twice. This one will have a place of honor on my shelf.
Cash-Worthy: Good stuff. This will most likely find a place on my shelf.
Not Bad: I liked it. I’m glad I saw it, and it may or may not end up on my shelf at some point. I would say rent it first to be safe.
Meh: Rent it first. You may love it or hate it, but I’m indifferent probably because it’s not my type of movie. I’m glad I saw it, but it won’t end up on my shelf.
Emergency Cake: I have an emotional reaction to movies sometimes, especially to tragedies. If a movie makes me sad or angry, sometimes it will stick with me for a while. At these times, only chocolate cake can save me. Chocolate cake makes everything better. No shelf for you. Ever.
** Intro art is called “Angelic Vigilante” by SketchingDays on Deviant Art. **
Another one I’m waiting for home release.
I typically like revenge movies (Sicario was a bit too much revenge for me) although perhaps the proper term is “justice served” movies.
The trailer looked like something I would like but I’ve had a number of disappointments in the past year, so I’m now playing it safe.
Plus, since we now have AC, there’s not as much of an incentive to go sit in a theater on the off-chance we might like something.
Thanks for the review.
I never saw Sicario, but it’s on my list. Lol, my list always seems to be growing. XD
And yeah, I don’t blame you. I’ve gone to several movies that looked promising, only to be really disappointed. I went and saw Happytime Murders, which was one of the disappointments sadly, and I was going to do a review on that one too. Lol, then again, I’m pretty mean to comedies. XD
On another front, I just read another review saying this movie has racial undertones.
The reviewer said she so wanted to like the movie but couldn’t get past it.
That’s really interesting. I honestly didn’t feel like there was anything racist in this movie. Lol, admittedly, I do have a tendency to go out of my way to ignore any political undertones when I’m out to see a movie though – unless it’s specifically a political type movie. I see movies as an escape from the harsh realities of life, so I actually get irritated when politics wind up somewhere they shouldn’t be, like a Disney movie or something. Or when I’m watching Lord of the Rings, I do NOT want to hear a lowkey Clinton/Bush/Obama/Trump insult slipped in, regardless of whether I love or hate them. I’m all for respectful discussion of politics and opposing viewpoints, but not during my movie down time. It’s not the time or place.
I read your post, and the post you mentioned, and I totally agree with you – I don’t feel like there was any racist intention in this movie. I feel like saying it’s racist to have a Mexican drug cartel be Mexican is the same as saying it’s racist to have yakuza be Japanese. Or, as you pointed out, the Italian mafia being portrayed as Italian is also not racist. Nor is it racist to say white supremacist groups are white.
These days, I feel like it’s exhausting trying to live up to everyone’s expectations of what is acceptable and unoffensive. Jokes are often taken too seriously, and well-intentioned comments or discussions of opposing viewpoints can get you branded as any number of insults ending in -ist.
The crazy thing is, these accusations of being [fill in the blank with a trendy insult]-ist generally come from a place of good intentions. I feel like some are falling into the trap of being so passionately, at times violently, opposed to racism/sexism/fascism/etc that they become the thing they hate.
It’s a delicate conversation to have with anyone especially when they hold that not agreeing with them is what makes you racist.
I think that in many ways the country is setting itself up for nothing but difficult times ahead because it’s a bit like religion . . . there’s always someone claiming to be more pure, more pious, more of a “true” adherent to the ideals and everybody “below” them are sinners.
I think we’re watching that similar thing unfold on both the left and right, both extremes not ceding the point that someone can have a more centrist opinion without being a threat to the core ideals.
In the case of race, it seems there’s personal gain to being the first to find offense in everything and point an accusing finger. Once that’s done, others — even if they don’t see the offense — go along lest they too are stained with the same brush.
I don’t see this ending well.
Agreed – I keep hoping we’ve finally reached that magical tipping point where people realize they’ve officially gone too far, and things start to calm down. You’re right, it has become like a religion, on both sides – full of yelling over each other and hearing nothing, living in constant fear because the press is saying everybody’s going to die if the dreaded “other side” wins, and people getting violent with each other to prove just how much they hate violence, and it’s ok because it’s only violence when the “other side” does it.
I don’t see this ending well either, but I’m trying desperately to hang on to my optimism. Lol, I’m getting more and more cranky about the whole situation in the meantime though.
Yeah . . . I’m trying to stay away from most of it, but it still manages to intrude.