By Dave Kibbler
Ah, Ms. Garner. So very good to see you in an action film once again! It’s been a while.
She had become known to an entire generation as a light comedic actress, thanks to films such as “13 Going On 30″. I will always associate Jennifer Garner, however, with Sydney Bristow, the sexy double agent on the ABC spy series “Alias”. In “Peppermint”, Garner returns to her action roots.
Garner portrays Riley North, a typical suburban wife with a daughter and a husband. She dotes on her young daughter Carly (Cailey Fleming), taking her out to the Winter Carnival for her birthday. All is not well in suburbia, however, as Riley’s husband (Jeff Hephner) is contemplating stealing from a drug cartel kingpin. He backs out of the deal. The damage is already done, and a team of three hitmen gun down the husband and child, and severely injure Riley. Thanks to crooked cops and an inept/corrupt judge, the three hitmen walk away from their charges, and Riley escapes “off the grid” to plan her vengeance.
What follows is a fairly derivative “vengeance flick”, as Riley meets out justice in bloody, violent fashion. We’ve seen much of this before. Still, Garner brings a raw energy that infuses what is otherwise a fairly predictable take on the sub-genre with bursts of high octane wildness. There’s even some light-heartedness amidst the melee, as Riley delivers a beatdown to a snooty neighbor who definitely had it coming.
Pierre Morel directs from a script by Chad St. John. Garner carries this movie on her broad, strong shoulders. Lighting is an issue in this film, as much of it is set at night, and at times it can be so dark that it is hard to make out exactly how Riley is dispensing with the bad guys. Still, it’s an enjoyable popcorn muncher perfect for a matinee or a download. “Peppermint” is 102 minutes long and is rated R for strong language and violence throughout. If watching Jennifer Garner wreak havoc on those who deserve it is to your liking, then “Peppermint” will be a sweet treat. 3.5 stars.