The revenge tale “Peppermint” delivers the goods big time. Jennifer Garner is Riley North, a distraught mother who returns to seek vengeance after her entire family was wiped out at the hands of a ruthless drug cartel. This is something that baffles me. Why do they pick five years afterward as a significant milestone?
This tale marks Garner’s return to the action genre she knows well, following her roles on TV’s “Alias,” (2001-06) as well as roles as Elektra Natchios in the so-so “Daredevil” in 2003 (Grade: C-) and the halfway decent “Elektra” (C+) in 2005. She was also cool in the underrated Peter Berg action-drama “The Kingdom” in 2007. Garner has a likable everywoman persona on screen.
The supporting cast provides the right vim and vigor for their necessary roles. This includes Annie Ilonzeh as FBI agent Lisa Inman. She aids in the quest to bring North in for questioning. Ilonzeh is a local girl, born in Grapevine. She has also appeared on “Arrow” as well as “Person of Interest” on network TV.
Also important to the story is John Ortiz as detective Moises Beltran, who has a strong feeling of empathy for North’s battle to rid the world of evil. Ortiz was great in the Oscar-winning “Silver Linings Playbook” in 2012. He shows off as a stern authoritarian figure who wants what is best for the city and its beloved residents.
In the director’s chair for “Peppermint” is French director Pierre Morel, best known for 2008’s Liam Neeson-led “Taken.” He later worked with John Travolta in 2010’s “From Paris With Love” and Sean Penn in 2016’s “The Gunman.” The first in the bunch was sheer brilliance, but the latter two left a lot to be desired.
Going back to “Peppermint,” the revenge angle works because one sees what happened to Riley’s family and it takes the audience along for the ride. When she sits in front of the jury, North is as shocked as the audience is to watch the entire troupe of Riley’s families’ killers set free.
I liked this movie because it is just a solid piece of riveting entertainment. Sure, it presses the buttons, but with purpose and meaning. This movie proves once again that a woman-led tale can deliver the goods big time.