A surprising good time
I'm fairly certain I didn't see a single trailer for this. It kind of came out of nowhere actually. But I knew generally what it was about. I love a good vengeance flick and Peppermint is one of those films that doesn't stray from the cookie cutter recipe of a vengeance movie and I don't mean that as a bad thing. This film was better than the Death Wish remake and I had high expectations for that one. The movie has some decent scenes and cinematography and some definitive gritty settings but anyone expecting anything unique won't find it here. But for a popcorn flick, it's a good movie. It won't be a classic but it definitely serves it's purpose.
This was a great vehicle for Jennifer Garner. She gets to do the sweet, Mom-next-door role and then transition into this killer without a lot of story as to how that happens which keeps the mystery alive. She is believable as the killer too and the violence and bad assery is a welcome addition. John Gallagher Jr. plays a detective who seems to have a soft spot for the little people. His character is excruciatingly typical and whereas much of the movie does this well, he's not amazing at being typical. He's necessary for the story and he gives something of a twist to the film which is good. John Ortiz is actually the better of the two detectives. He's planted to make you think one thing (I think) and ends up being the opposite. If they created a series from Peppermint, Ortiz would be the guy I'd want to see always pursuing her. Ortiz brings some much needed seniority to the cast. Juan Pablo Raba is our main villain. He's a by the book example of the Latin Drug Dealer role but he is very ominous and definitely brings enough evil to the role to make you hate him and root for Garner. Annie Ilonzeh and Ian Casselberry are underused despite having a fair bit of screen time. Casselberry is the typical right hand man to Raba's villain.
I have to admit I'm a little surprised to see our director is Pierre Morel who brought us modern day action/vengeance classic Taken (the original one) and From Paris With Love, and The Gunman all films that were superior to this and more unique. Still it helps that he brought his gritty style and eye to the roles. Many of the positive reviews talk about the cinematography and that makes sense now as Morel has experience and a good eye for this type of gritty action. I don't want to sound like I didn't like Peppermint (why did they choose this as the title?) I had a great time watching it, hence my score of it. I just think it's forgettable because it's so by the book but it's simplicity in the story and execution is what made it plainly entertaining. If you need a popcorn flick with some bad assery, a woman lead and gritty violence you won't be disappointed with this for the duration of the film. It won't be taking home any awards or making a ton of money I suspect.
8 out of 10