“Peppermint” is devoid of sweet thrills

Illustration by Sammy Newman

Illustration by Sammy Newman

Samuel Goodrich
Staff Writer

The past few years have seen many great action films met with audience and critical acclaim. The “John Wick” films, “The Raid” series and both “Equalizer” films are just a few of the movies that have set the standard for upcoming action flicks. But there are still some action movies being released that try to get away with the bare minimum, feeling a few years too late.

“Peppermint” is one such film. Looking to capitalize on Director Pierre Morel’s previous hit, “Taken,” and the recent action-film surge, this project comes off as lazy, tired and monotonous.

Jennifer Garner heads the film as Riley North, a mother whose life is destroyed when her husband and young daughter are gunned down by members of a Mexican cartel. After the killers are acquitted, North goes “off-the-grid” for five years, training to become the ultimate killing machine to not only get revenge, but keep others safe from the ills of the world.

When I woke up the day after seeing “Peppermint,” I realized I had almost forgotten I’d seen it. Not even 12 hours had gone by and the movie was starting to leave my mind. If I hadn’t written down notes on how I felt after leaving the theater, this review might have turned out quite different.

The largest issue with the film is that nothing about it incites interest or sparks the senses. It’s a by-the-numbers revenge story full of inconsistencies, laughable acting and dialogue and a severe lack of logic.

Garner cannot play a believable action heroine. No matter how much the characters say she is a badass and how much dirt they throw on her or the amount of blood she spills, Garner just doesn’t do grizzled vigilante well.

The other performances are mediocre to comedic, with many actors clearly phoning it in. The dialogue doesn’t help either; it’s full of cliches and overdramatic statements. Even worse, the film’s Mexican villains are stereotypical to a cartoonish level, so much so that it’s difficult to call it offensive because the characters are simply so ridiculous.

The lack of humanity rings true in the action scenes as well. While there are a good amount of fight scenes and shootouts, few leave an impact. This is because of the flat filmmaking style and the lack of blood, which lead to confusing, forgettable bursts of action.

I’m struggling not only to find anything nice to say about “Peppermint,” but also to even care. As I write this review, I feel as if I’m putting more effort into bashing this film more than the filmmakers did in making it.

The whole production feels cheap —  locations are reused and they even hide the lack of background extras with tents and sound effects. The movie also feels past its time to the point where they use the dramatic, shaky-camera effects parodied in “Hot Fuzz” more than 10 years ago.

Despite all these problems, I can’t say “Peppermint” is offensively bad or even worth my time to fully discuss. It’s simply a generic, passionless film that should have just been put on Netflix or DVD, but somehow ended up in your local multiplex. The only saving grace is that its pace is quick enough that the film doesn’t outstay its assumed welcome.

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