My, my, my. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Where to begin, where to begin? I guess I’ll begin at the beginning as always and just work my way through it. Here we go…
Directed by Pierre Morel, written by Chad St. John, and starring Jennifer Garner and John Gallagher Jr., Peppermint is a revenge story centering on a mother who loses her family to violence and takes revenge on the killers, the justice system that failed her and one other very deserving party. No one is safe in her quest for justice, as this woman leaves no stone unturned. She is on a mission and she is coming for them all!
Sounds great, doesn’t it! Too bad it isn’t.
I find it hard to believe this is the same dude who directed Taken (2008). The majority of Morel’s credits are as a cinematographer and/or cameraman and sometimes it shows in Peppermint sometimes, and not always in the best way. He seems to want to make compelling scenery and get great shots and capture action on film well but the gaping holes in this script won’t allow him to be great. There are these slow motion shots and pensive moments that slow the film down and make it feel longer than an hour and 42 minutes. He did do some things right, but there was so much more wrong here I could go on for a long while about it, but I won’t. It’s not worth our time. Let’s move on.
And about those plot holes, this is Mr. St. John’s first time writing a feature film. But that’s no excuse. Despite what Garner may say, it isn’t as if this is an original story. The template already exists for a satisfying revenge killing movie with tons of other movies including Death Wish (1974) (and all its sequels and reincarnations) and First Blood (1982). All that was done here is to make the dark protagonist a woman and add some social media nonsense which improved absolutely nothing. The writing is just lazy. It’s as if dude had a book report due in the morning, had only half written it and finished writing the rest the night before. There is no care taken in the details, whatsoever. There are many glaring examples throughout this movie, but again, it’s not worth our time.
The initial impetus for the entire chain of events is so weak it hardly make sense. And why would you not put the impetus into action in an action movie! This has to defy some rule of movie making. Then this California housewife goes off the grid and gets this training in military weaponry, martial arts, hand-to-hand combat, and surgery even, and the audience sees absolutely none of it. She just reappears as this killing machine with no explanation as to how she got that way, except in some, “Oh, by the way…” manner. And “Oh, by the way…” this is how she got the money to finance her travel and training. Two missed opportunities to make this a more interesting, action packed film right there. The action that did take place was mostly forgettable because I couldn’t stop shaking my head at how ridiculous the story is long enough to really enjoy it. The act of revenge upon the actual killers isn’t even shown; just the silly aftermath. When I tell you it is downright silly, it is downright silly. What does it say when the most satisfying act of revenge in the entirety of an action film is the most civil?
The dialogue was corny at times and the ridiculous plot was coincidence driven and predictable. The fact that the movie is named Peppermint as some sort of homage to Orson Welles’ “Rosebud”, doesn’t help either. And there is this unnecessary, weird, allusion to this non-existent interracial “love story” which was pushed on the audience in an attempt to bring a relationship which never existed to some sort of a dramatic climax. This annoyed me to no end. Even the pretty darn good twist at the end couldn’t save what was already a ruined movie. And please Dear Lord, tell me no one is going to attempt a sequel to this, because the set-up is real!
The acting. Oh, the acting. With the corny writing (it felt as if I was watching scenes directly from Lethal Weapon whenever there was a conversation among officers, and as much as I love Lethal Weapon, this is not meant as a compliment) and hole-riddled script it couldn’t have been easy to get through this movie as an actor. I don’t know this Gallagher guy from a hole in the wall, but dude… this was not your shining moment. The cast had little to no chemistry. It was as if they were talking at one another instead of to or with each other. Jennifer Garner was the only person I believed, at times, in this entire movie. What I will say for the cast is that they landed every single joke. You will get several good laughs, if nothing else. And there really isn’t much else to see here, unfortunately.
Peppermint was painful for me on so many levels and for so many reasons, it earned 3 bloops out of 10. It is a poor movie that I cannot recommend for any reason. It left me extremely dissatisfied. I hate to just pan somebody’s work and normally, I would give something like this a 5 and say it’s worth it if you don’t have to pay, but I’ve had a bad week, I’m not in the best mood and I am not feeling generous today. It is what it is. Save yourself some time, money and pain. Proceed at your own risk, but don’t say you weren’t warned.
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1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
What I’m seeing/reviewing next…
I’ll let you know soon.
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Avengers: Infinity War
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Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
The Florida Project
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The Big Sick
All Eyez on Me
It Comes at Night
The Wedding Plan
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
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The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness
Hell or High Water
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Manchester by the Sea
I Am Not Your Negro