Film review: ‘PEPPERMINT’ by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed”

Right-wing revenge fantasy Peppermint is one of the biggest dogs of the year. This vile fascist garbage oddly combines Death Wish, a midday movie-style female empowerment yarn and an 80’s video nasty.

Why Jennifer Garner chose to slum it in a film like this is mind-boggling but here she plays soccer mom Riley North who turns vigilante when a drug gang kills her husband and daughter. After disappearing for a few years and apparently acquiring some sort of military training she becomes a Rambo/ Sarah Connor hybrid and hunts down the gang members before stabbing, shooting or blowing them up.

The gang in this case are an appallingly stereotyped, Mexican cartel whose face-tatted members aren’t depicted as regular humans just angry, sleazy or mocking cyphers for what appears to be an alt-right agenda. It’s disgraceful that a rich and diverse culture such as Mexico’s is constantly represented in Hollywood films as vicious drug peddling crims. Added to that is the appalling notion here that only a white person with a gun can clean up the streets, it’s almost as if a certain political figure had a hand in the script.

Not only is it morally repugnant but this film is just plain dumb. We’re expected to believe that Riley is some sort of superhuman who can seemingly be in three places at once while effortlessly picking off gormless henchmen who stand like statues waiting to be shot – the goons are about as effective as Hogan’s Heroes Sergeant Schultz. Admittedly, there is a long and dubious history of implausible and seemingly indestructible Hollywood action stars but Riley goes one step beyond the ridiculous in this film including a sequence in which she survives an explosion that would level a city only to pop out of a sewer tunnel like a Ninja Turtle right where the bad guys are driving past.

The film attempts some plot twists but they’re hardly revelatory and add almost nothing to the story.

Peppermint comes from director Pierre Morrel who delivered the flagship of ugly, nasty vigilante flicks, Taken. That film at least offered a vaguely enjoyable and convincing first half hour before it descended into obscene torture porn, this lunk-headed film never threatens to be credible.

Nick’s rating: No stars

Genre: Action/ crime.

Classification: MA15+.

Director(s): Pierre Morell.

Release date: 13th Nov 2018.

Running time: 102 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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