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Peppermint Review - Jennifer Garner is One Badass Avenger in this Solid Vigilante Action Film

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Peppermint, from STX Entertainment and Huayi Brothers, presents the story of justice and the paths many travel to right the wrongs, to avenge the senseless, to expose the corrupt and well-hidden, and to ensure their story is heard.

Directed by Pierre Morel, Peppermint stars Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, Juan Pablo Raba, Annie Ilonzeh, Jeff Hephner, Cailey Fleming, Pell James, Jeff Harlan, Eddie Shin, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Tyson Ritter, Ian Casselberry, Richard Cabral, Johnny Ortiz, Michael Reventar Kyla-Drew, Gustavo Quiroz and Tate Birchmore. Peppermint was written by Chad St. John.

Peppermint begins with a narrowed focused on a single parked car in a deserted rooftop parking lot.

We see violently shaking, grunts, screams, and two voices can be heard, the clear sounds of a Latin male and Caucasian female, the camera moves to the inside of the vehicle and we see the woman, played by Jennifer Garner, and a clear gang banging male, in an fight as we see her injured, wounded by razor slice across her leg, the camera moves back outside, until the noise is punctuated by a single shot.

Then the camera pulls back and the screen is filled with an montage of L.A., beginning with the beauty, sun drenched, palm trees, beautiful skylines and in seconds the montage is filled with reality of LA, shocking traffic, disgraceful homelessness, skid row tent cities and encampments, and typical big city, gang related violent crime.


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Limping back to a van in the middle of skid row, a Christmas stocking hangs on the side of the door, and two homeless kids peer from their encampment, waiting to see if the clearly out of place women receives her Christmas present.

The next morning we see what is the beginning of street justice.

Once inside the van we see her in action, military grade weapons, a bullet proof vest, medical supplies and a picture of happier days, BT days, before tragedy, when our vigilante was a mom and a wife. Blood stains on the photos are a constant reminder of her motivation.

Flashback five years ago, Riley North, played by Jennifer Garner, and Carly North, played by Cailey Fleming are rushing across the grocery store parking lot finishing up the day selling a form of Girl Scout cookies. Another mom, Peg, played by Pell James is rushing after her explaining the protocol of selling cookies.

As we find out Chris, Riley’s husband, played by Jeff Hephner, runs a auto garage and his friend, Mickey, played by Chris Johnson, has come up with a plan that requires a driver and would he be interested. As the day unfolds, we find it is Carly’s birthday and Peg, the over achieving want to be perfect Mom threw a party and invited the whole class. All Carly’s school friends went to the other party leaving a little girl disappointed on her birthday.

So Riley and Chris decide to take the love of their lives to the Christmas Carnival and ride all the rides and eat ice cream and shake off the blues of this birthday. We see a night of laughter, funny photobooth pictures, a family night out, and finally ice cream!

As they are walking to the car, Riley turns back for napkins when seemingly random shooters drive by unloading a barrage of gunfire and the family is hit.

What follows next, of course, the deep ache of loss, Riley who was not supposed to survive, lived to see the system at its worst. Fighting for justice, she sees exactly what the courts are capable of when they favor corruption over evidence.

Peppermint is a solid action film. Jennifer Garner is one bad ass vigilante with a sympathetic story that resonates with the audiences. We want our courts void of corruption; we want homelessness handled and gangs off the streets.

I want to say the plot is a bit farfetched, and I would have at one time, and now I say, the motivation that drives Jennifer Garner’s character, for justice, for punishment for the senseless loss drives her to take drastic measures to ensure her story is heard and doesn’t fall into the fade of lives lost and hazing memories. It’s not implausible or improbable and is the story of millions of victims around the world.

What I liked about this film, BT, before tragedy was its realism. Money was tight, even with two incomes, the house was modest, each had to deal with those who had power over them, unfeeling, uncaring bosses, the possibility or option of short cuts, reality.

The premise of police force corruption, of gang bangers, drug dealers, cartels, and even pretentious over-achieving, have to be perfect Mom’s, are all real. Reality sometimes is better than the alternative.


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Peppermint, as it is a vigilante film and not an everything nice film, and brings along with it a high body count. She takes down a lot of bad guys, corrupt judges and LAPD. And along the way she attempts to right wrongs. She is determined and with the system shut down she is left to fight outside the law.

Skid row is featured in the film, and with the homeless problem in Los Angeles, it was less crowded or recreated, as the encampments and tent cities are more like tenements, crowded, side by side tents.

Peppermint is a solid, gripping, action film, high drama and a compelling sympathetic story line that leaves the audience agreeing with the methods.

Peppermint opens Friday, September 7, 2018. A sure bet. see it!

 

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