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American films

Peppermint film review: Jennifer Garner delivers rough justice in tasteless revenge-murder thriller

Garner shows her action chops, but her talents are wasted in this crude tale of a mother taking revenge on the gangsters who killed her family. The plot is clumsy and full of holes and racial clichés and the villains are stereotypical

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 7:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 7:02am

1/5 stars

Why did Jennifer Garner choose to make this crude and nauseating revenge-murder film? Her recent screen outings have included playing the owner of a talking cat, and a religious mother whose daughter is cured by a miracle. But in Peppermint, the actress spends most of her time using military-grade weaponry to shoot people in the face.

Not only is this film tasteless, it’s clumsily directed by Taken’s Pierre Morel. Peppermint is stuffed full of clichés, including racial ones, the plot is full of gaping holes, and it has a storyline that is even less realistic than a superhero fantasy.

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Garner plays Riley North, a suburban Los Angeles mother whose husband and daughter are murdered by a gang of drug dealers. When the killers are set free by a corrupt judge, North goes underground for six months, then reappears as a killing machine bent on wiping out the gang.

The inept LA police department then try and track her down as she blasts her way through the city’s criminal fraternity, stopping occasionally to help children in need.

Peppermint plays into the hands of America’s far right by expressing a fascist ideology. It says that institutions like the police and the judiciary can’t be trusted, so to achieve justice, honest citizens must take the law into their own hands, pick up machine guns, and kill anyone they disagree with. The unsavoury tone is increased by the fact that most of North’s foes are caricatured Latinos.

Garner channels Terminator heroine Linda Hamilton and takes her punishment like a female Stallone. Peppermint shows she can do action, but the film is unworthy of her talents.

Peppermint opens on September 20

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