There is something extremely appealing to a strong female lead role in a film. Especially when that woman is also an action heroine. And before you all fall over me, I don’t mean that in a sexist way at all. I have always believed that women can pretty much do anything a man can do, and sometimes they do it even better. For the people that have been following my blog for a while now, you know that I have a particular love for revenge movies. It was only a short while ago that I reviewed the Korean revenge movie The Villainess which coincidentally also featured a lady that could seriously kick some booty. So why are women in such roles so appealing? I don’t exactly have an answer to that question. But I do know it is great to see a woman pretty much beat the living daylights out of men that are so evil that they don’t even deserve to be alive in this world. This month we see Jennifer Garner finally make a very welcome return to the action genre. Looking back to quite a few years ago, some people might remember her playing the feisty agent Sydney Bristow in the hitseries Alias. In Peppermint though she seems to pay homage to that character, only this time she plays the completely psychotic and lethal version of it.
Riley North is a woman who struggles to make ends meet. She and her husband Chris have a lovely daughter and live a good life, but they do seem to have trouble keeping their heads above water financially. Chris almost went off to do something stupid and illegal but changed his mind at the last second. One night on their daughter’s birthday they head off as a family to the local carnival. They have the time of their lives, but that changes in the blink of an eye when a drive by shooting by local drug cartel members results in something absolutely horrible. Riley survives the incident and has the chance to appear in court, as she alone has managed to step up and identify the suspects. But a sleezeball lawyer and corrupt judge manage to turn the tables, and as a result the perpetrators get set free. But then something snaps in Riley. The once quiet and loving mother is determined to bring a justice of her own to the cartel and woe to anyone who will stand in her way. They say hell hath no fury to a woman scorned, and Riley North has become the living embodiment of that saying….
Well, if this sounds like a story you might have seen and heard of a countless number of times in movies, you would be right. Yes this is a straight up good old fashioned revenge movie, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. What we have here is one of those films, that will probably leave your mind by the end of the week, but is still solidly entertaining and worth making a trip to the movie theatre for. One of the reasons for this is most certainly Jennifer Garner. She is amazing as the grieving mother with a heart, and brings a cold determination to her character as she continues with her mission of vengeance. And what a mission it is. She is a one man erm woman army as she shoots, stabs and kicks all sorts of low life trash to the afterlife. It almost felt at times that I was looking at an old 80’s Stallone or Schwarzenegger movie, but without the over the top and unrealistic action. (Althought I love those movies in case you were wondering). Garner is totally believable in this role, and it was nice to finally see her step out of her pretty mundane roles of late, and go into full on action mode again.
Storywise this just isn’t an original tale, although there was a twist during the later half of the film that I did not see coming. And it’s always nice to see something like that happening. But in a movie like this it’s the action that counts, and in that way this film doesn’t let up for a second. We have a total adrenaline rush here, that sees you moving from one fight scene, to the next gunbattle and all of these are pretty brutal too. The director doesn’t have a problem with depicting violence, but it never get too gory. As mentioned though, the action certainly wasn’t unrealistic, and it was also refreshing to see that Riley isn’t an invulnerable superwoman but actually get’s wounded, and quite a lot too. The action sequences were choreagraphed very decently, and certainly won’t leave anyone who craves for action in their films feel slighted. The rest of the roles in this film weren’t very memorable to be honest, but this is pretty much a film that is carried by the role of Garner, and I was fine with that.
I had fun with this film. It’s a movie that doesn’t reinvent the revenge genre, but I have to be honest that I’m not always looking for movies that feel the need to do that. Sometimes it’s nice to see just a solid entry into a familiar genre, and on that front this movie absolutely delivers. So do I recommend the film? Well, if you love oldschool action movies, with gunbattles, and energetic fight sequences with a solid female lead, I would say go for it. If that isn’t you usual cup of tea, this movie won’t convince you otherwise, and it’s best to avoid it then. What this movie does prove though is that it’s never a good idea to mess with a mother’s love for her child. Or women in general. Some can certainly turn into angels of vengeance, a lesson that one does best to not forget. And in case you might have forgotten it, I hope you won’t ever run into Riley North. Because I am pretty sure she won’t mind in helping you remember it…..
I give Peppermint a 7 out of 10 score.