Jennifer Garner stars as She-Punisher.
What? She’s not? I thought she might be Francine Castle since her film here is basically the exact story of Frank Castle, Marvel Comics’ Punisher.
But no, Peppermint does not feature the debut of the She-Punisher, but it may as well have. Garner stars as soccer mom turned psycho terrorist Riley North, who returns to her home five years after seeing her husband (Jeff Hephner) and her sweet daughter (Cailey Fleming) gunned down in front of her by a drive by shooting. The perpetrators of the crime, despite being identified by Riley, are set free by a crooked system of a judge, district attorney and defense attorney that have been bought off by crime lord Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba). Riley disappears for five years, turning herself into a revenge seeking murder machine.
I actually liked this more than I thought I would. It is not a good movie, as much of what it should have done was skipped. Jennifer Garner was outstanding as the grief-stricken psycho. You could both relate to her and be amazed at her ability to murder people. She hit the emotional beats here well and she played this character as slightly unhinged, which helped make sense of how a normal person could become this mass murderer.
The biggest problem of the film was that the real culprits that I wanted to see her take out in her quest for revenge was the people directly involved in the murder of her family and the subsequent cover up in court. However, of these characters, we only see her kill the judge and one of the shooters (there were three) and that shooter we see get his before we even knew what was happening. It was the opening scene and it was not as powerful as it could have been had we known what he did to deserve it. Even still, they could have kept that as an opening scene if they had not killed all of these others off screen.
The worst one was the lawyer defending the shooters, played by Michael Mosley. This guy showed up at her house after the shooting to try and buy her off and when that did not work, he tried to intimidate her and he wound up using her medication against her. This guy was the biggest slimeball in the whole movie, but his death was off screen, covered by a line of dialogue. In a revenge film, I want to see the people I hold responsible get theirs. I don’t just want to hear about it at a later date.
Most of the movie was focused on the pursuit of Riley against the big boss Garcia. That was fine, but I really would have liked less of that and more of killing that lawyer. Or, at least, the other two gunmen. Instead, they are just dead within the first five minutes after the flashback and it has no emotional response from the audience.
The action itself was good, but not at the same standard of a John Wick. There were some things that Riley North was able to do that felt like credibility was being stretched too far.
There was nothing new in this movie, but it was an alright shoot ’em up film for what it was. It could have been a much better revenge film, but the movie does not understand whom the audience wants to see get theirs.