There are basically two types of action movies out there: one type dares to be different and the other type follows a cardboard cut out formula. While Peppermint isn’t the worst film to be unoriginal, it’s still unoriginal at the end of the day. Director Pierre Morel has made decent films such as Taken, but he has also made lackluster ones like The Gunman. It was interesting to see where Peppermint would land, especially with a female lead. Unfortunately, it is a pretty disappointing movie. Let’s take a look below at what worked and what didn’t.
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.
To start out on a positive note, here is what worked in Peppermint. Jennifer Garner. That’s about it. It is so refreshing to see her back in an action lead role (her first one since 2005’s dreadful Elektra). She is such a great actress and it’s awesome to see her show off some of her badass fighting skills. There are some really cool action sequences in Peppermint. They’re very similar to 2017’s The Accountant, which basically means they are very brutal and the camera doesn’t cut away when someone gets shot in the head. There are moments where things happen that are a little far-fetched, but that just comes with the territory of an action movie.
What’s most disappointing about Jennifer Garner being so prominent in Peppermint is that she has to work with such a lackluster script. This is one of those revenge stories that someone can predict from the trailer alone, so one can imagine how predictable it is while its being watched. There are hints of good writing in Peppermint, but overall it’s a letdown. The dialogue is substandard several times and some character decisions are odd. Riley North (Garner) is motivated to kill so many people in Peppermint because they killed her daughter and husband. The problem is, the audience has about 15 minutes to get connected with them as a family before they’re gunned down. There is very little development and overall their relationship is thin, so there’s very little payoff when she murders a bad guy. Will the average audience care about this? Probably not. They just want to see Garner kill people in cool ways. As a movie though, this lack of development and connection makes the foundation of Peppermint easily shook.
In addition to the writing being inadequate, the editing is pretty sloppy at times. There are several of those cheesy and jarring effects on flashback transitions that I THOUGHT died back in 2007. Little did I know, someone thought those were still effective. No. They’re awful and please stop using them. The score is very forgettable and annoying, playing heavy rock as North maneuvers through a warehouse shooting people in the face. It felt so lazy. One bright spot was the sound editing and mixing. Not Oscar worthy by any means, but it still sounded good.
Overall, Peppermint is just… pretty forgettable and lazy. It would be awesome to see Jennifer Garner in more action lead roles, though. Imagine her with a John Wick type script. That’s the script that she deserves. This is one of those movies that everyone should wait to watch on Netflix.