Cast: Jennifer Garner, John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr, Jeff Hephner, Juan Pablo Raba, Annie Ilonze, Cailey Fleming
It’s interesting how the winsome Jennifer Garner plays an assassin in films and TV serials like the spy-actioner ALIAS where she sports a variety of disguises as a spook. In the film under review, she transits from a doting mother to vengeful vigilante. French helmer Morel has films like Taken and District 13 to his credit. In Peppermint the event that lobbed Garner’s working mom Riley North over the edge occured when her daughter Carley (Cailey Fleming) and mechanic husband, Chris (Jeff Hephner) were slaughtered on the child’s birthday by henchmen of Los Angeles drug kingpin Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba).
In the City of Angels, the system is rotten indeed as penned by screenwriter Chad St.John – the killers go free, and Riley is despatched to the madhouse (just like the Terminator’s mom) She escapes and falls off the map. When she resurfaces in LA, she is a very different person. Flashbacks tells us the backstory which your reviewer has set out at the start. Garner’s physical transformation is convincing – she is now a gun toting bottle blonde, clad in apparel of the subalterns among whom she lives. And protects.Especially the children. From alcoholic fathers, paedophiles and suchlike.
However, her ferocity is reserved for the drugs runners and corrupt members of the legal system whom she tracks down, gleefully tortures and kills. It’s clear (to your reviewer at least) that she has become unhinged by revenge. By this time the media and the cops are in hot pursuit, notably Detectives Moises Beltran (John Ortiz) and Stan Carmichael (John Gallagher Jr.) “Corrupt Judges, dirty cops. What do I want? I want justice!” Riley rants in a key scene. If this film is justifying vigilantism as I think it does, Messrs Morel and St John should visit India, our beloved India which still remains John Kenneth Galbraith’s “functioning anarchy” where