Plot: After her husband and daughter were gunned down in cold blood, Riley (Jennifer Garner) had to stand by as the killers were set free, thanks to deep rooted corruption and ties to a powerful drug operation. The case should have open and shut, but Riley finds herself in a state of desperation, unable to cope in the wake of the killers being allowed to get away with multiple murders. After the trial, she more or less drops off the grid, but five years later, the three killers involved in the shooting turn up dead, strung up on display after brutal executions. The situation puzzles both authorities and the crime syndicate the killers worked for, but some on the force notice a pattern when more people involved in Riley’s case are taken down. But has Riley returned for revenge and if so, can one man take down an entire cartel operation?
Entertainment Value: This is a pretty by the numbers vigilante justice revenge movie, but Peppermint is a fun watch, thanks to a nastier than expected tone and a kind of female Punisher vibe that works well. The narrative is a well worn one, rooted in the typical hunt for revenge, but I do appreciate the mom being the vigilante this time, as that at least offers a little freshness to the premise. That said, Peppermint never tries to break new ground or explore new takes on the concept, so I can see how some might be let down, since we have seen all this before. But that is true of a lot of movies, so if you appreciate vigilante stories or darker action movies, there is some solid fun here and Peppermint isn’t shy about the violence involved. This leads to some wild action scenes that layer on the bloodshed and brutality, as Riley unleashes a torrent of payback on those who took her loved ones. Jennifer Garner has some experience in action roles, so she is a solid choice for the lead here and while you have to suspend some disbelief, but that is often the case in this kind of movies. She carries the movie well and it is fun to watch her uncork hell, which is the point here. So while Peppermint isn’t original or overly memorable, it does deliver what you want from a vigilante movie and I had a good time with this one.
No nakedness. This one is all about the violence and action, so sleaze and sexual content aren’t part of the equation. As I said above, the movie lays on the violence and puts the vigilante premise to good use, so the action is nastier and more blood soaked than expected. This kind of adds a touch of absurd humor, as Garner in such brutal situations is odd, but regardless of how it lands, the action is fun to watch. The action is a blend of hand to hand style combat and gun based violence, so it is a nice mix and both are handled well. I wouldn’t rank it as an action classic, but the scenes are fun and the nastiness adds a lot to the movie. The blood is mostly CGI, so it doesn’t look all that effective, but the dark visual design helps compensate somewhat. I would have loved this kind of big, splashy violence to have practical effects, but I am glad it is so hyper violent, so no complaints. The dialogue is fine, with corrupt cop bluster, tough guy talk, and tough girl talk, but none of it is overly memorable or all that wild. So it gets the job done, but that’s about it. As for the general craziness, the movie is nastier than expected, but doesn’t veer off the genre’s beaten path much.
Overall Insanity: 2/10