Peppermint – A Great Premise, Poor Execution

Rating (2 out of 5)

Who doesn’t love a good revenge story, especially when a mom is taking out really bad men who killed her daughter.  This movie glosses over a lot of detail about the people involved, so you feel nothing in the end.

The plot is really simple:  Riley North’s (Jennifer Garner) husband and daughter are killed by a drug lord in Los Angeles right before Christmas.  She testifies against them but the shooters are set free.  She leaves the country and returns 5 years later to take her revenge on everyone associated with the case.


What I Liked: . The overall premise of the story.

There was also a scene where she tries to assist a little boy with his drunk father.  She threatens the father and demands he take action or she will do something.  This would be a great facet of a TV series where every week she checks on them.

I enjoyed the shoot out at the Piñata store shoot out.  This part was very reminiscent of John Wick or other revenge oriented movies.

What I Didn’t Like: First no training scene.  Oh man, what a miss.  Always add this in to display your skills, or future skills you will use.

She kills the judge, but I don’t recall them telling me the judge was corrupt versus lazy.  I understand the lack of time and desire to keep a movie under 2 hours, but we seemed to kill people only if we thought they did something wrong, not that they did.  It would have been better if she found something that proved he was corrupt.


So she was stabbed multiple times by the head bad guy, and then walked all the way back to her van.  I have driven through LA, and you can’t walk easily from here to there.  It would be even slower if you were wounded and bleeding, but she did it no problem.

The scene where Riley breaks into a woman’s house and basically terrorizes her, switched her from being a good guy to bad guy in my mind.  While the woman was a horrible person, it could have been a way to show that some people can grow and show remorse for past actions.

Then, in the end battle scene, she finds the phone of the FBI agent.  She is not only able to take a video but is able to stream herself to the tv station.  1) If the FBI agent worked for almost any corporation in the US,  she would be required to have a 9 digit passcode to unlock.  2) How did she get the video up there so quickly.  Yeah a little convenient.  3) And the cops couldn’t find the phone before Riley posted the video on the news.  Did I mention it was an FBI phone and an FBI car.   Has anyone heard of GPS?  Please.

Her daughter appears to her multiple times.  I believe this was to pull at our heart strings a little.  It is a shoot’em up movie, so it just didn’t fit.  The picture from the photo booth was enough.  We also got it, she was seeking revenge, and didn’t need it flashed to us.  Think to John Wick, once they killed his dog, it was mentioned one more time and that was it.  Mission was clear.

There was one scene that jumped all over the place.  it was more like a slideshow than a movie, it jumped around that much.  This was bad direction.  If you are going to do this, then do it in all the action scenes.

We start off with her already having killed the 3 men that killed her husband and daughter.  Give me some build up and searching/planning.  Disappointed.

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Final gripe I swear, those kids in skid row were the cleanest, children I have ever scene.  Skid row felt like a set/location they got for a great price, and did as much as they could at that one location.

Conclusion:  A great chance to be a strong female death wish, but this movie meandered around and lacked specific direction.  Lot’s of good ideas.  When it had direction, everything seemed too easy.

Note:  I try not to look up too much about the directors or producers before watching the film.  I want to try and watch the movie without being influenced by their previous work.  Wow I am really surprised that Pierre Morel did this after Taken and District
B13.  Both movies were focused and concise, versus this movie.  The difference is they were written by Luc Besson.  Does the story make the movie or the director?

Note #2:  I read some reviews by users on IMDB comparing this to John Wick.  Huge difference, John Wick they established as a killer, and he had a reputation of being the best.  He killed with clear focus, and the scenes were very linear and the bad guys always clearly bad.  You easily accepted the stretches of reality (like shooting at a night club and no police come).  While some of the action scenes resembled John Wick, Peppermint lacks the clear focus of Wick.