Blu-ray Review: Peppermint (2018)

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Peppermint represents a missed opportunity to reimagine the Death Wish formula from the perspective of an avenging female. In a year that brought us the official Death Wish remake, an underrated satirical thriller starring Bruce Willis and directed by Eli Roth, Peppermint offers nearly the same film. Just not as good. Jennifer Garner stars as Riley North, a mild-mannered wife and mother of a little girl. Her life is turned topsy-turvy when her family is gunned down.

So Riley sets out to avenge her fallen loved ones. The potentially interesting angle is that her hubby (Jeff Hephner) is a corruptible, low-level criminal who essentially asks for trouble by agreeing to some kind of heist. He wises up pretty quickly, but not before his family is caught in the crosshairs. The film's strangely oblique title is a reference to the flavor of ice cream Riley's doomed daughter orders on the night of the attack.

What unfolds is disjointed—a jumble of unmotivated character decisions, crooked cop cliches, and of course the expected action hi-jinks as Riley goes after the people she believes killed her family. So similar are aspects of the story to Roth's Death Wish, it's a fair assumption that some eleventh-hour editing was done in a last-ditch attempt to distinguish it. Garner gives it her all, but there's not much here to recommend besides her gritty performance.

Peppermint failed to ignite at the box office the way director Pierre Morel's Taken did a decade ago. That earlier film spawned two sequels and a TV series. Unfortunately for Jennifer Garner, this one isn't going to do the same. Universal's Blu-ray features commentary by director Morel.

Peppermint BD.jpg

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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