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Pierre Morel
Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz
Writing Credits:
Chad St. John

Five years after her husband and daughter are killed in a senseless act of violence, a woman comes back from self-imposed exile to seek revenge against those responsible and the system that let them go free.

Box Office:
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$13,423,255 on 2980 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 12/11/2018

• Audio Commentary with Director Pierre Morel
• “Justice” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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Peppermint [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 13, 2018)

From the director of 2008’s hit Taken, 2018’s Peppermint introduces us to Riley North (Jennifer Garner), a woman whose husband Chris (Jeff Hephner) and daughter Carly (Cailey Fleming) die in a vicious assault. This attack also leaves Riley in a coma, and she goes into a long self-imposed exile when she awakes.

Five years after these tragic events, Riley re-emerges as a trained warrior, one intent on revenge. Those who killed her family remain at large, so when the legal system doesn’t help, Riley takes the law into her own hands.

I tend to associate Garner with “softer” roles like Juno and 13 Going on 30, so I forget that she also enjoys an action background. Garner first gained fame as the lead in TV’s spy thriller Alias, and she also got a superhero spinoff film via 2005’s Elektra.

This means Peppermint allows Garner a return to her roots, and I’d like to view it as a success. Unfortunately, it becomes such a tedious array of clichés that I didn’t find much to embrace.

To some degree, Peppermint plays as a female-led version of Death Wish, though Riley’s mission remains more focused. Whereas the lead in Death Wish went after a broad array of evildoers, Riley mainly concentrates on those connected to her family’s death.

This goes beyond just the direct culprits, however, as Riley holds the entire legal system responsible for the lack of justice. I guess we’re intended to root for Riley as she kills attorneys and judges, but I find it tough to applaud these situations, even if the movie attempts to cast these roles in a bad light.

I’m not averse to the “revenge thriller” genre, as films of that sort can offer a sort of cathartic charge, but something about Peppermint feels uglier and tawdrier than usual, perhaps due to its racial emphasis. While Riley does go after a few different ethnic groups, the movie mostly sends her to kill Latinos.

As I noted when I reviewed the 2018 Death Wish, that concept seems more fraught than usual given circumstances in “Trump’s America”. The sight of a white person who slays minorities always feels a bit iffy, but in the current day and age, it comes with added baggage.

Even without these social concerns, Peppermint would flop simply because it brings us nothing new. Lose the semi-novelty of the female protagonist and this turns into just another standard issue revenge tale.

Garner proves reasonably effective as Riley. Leaning back on her Alias experiences, Garner is too old to play the 35-year-old Riley, but she brings a good physical presence to the part and allows us to believe her as a violent vigilante.

Too much of Peppermint feels “by the numbers”, unfortunately, and the movie lacks originality. Despite his action background, director Pierre Morel gives us a film on cruise control, one that offers zero excitement or real drama.

While I don’t expect something totally new from a violent thriller of this sort, Peppermint still comes across as trite and cliché. The movie offers a bland, forgettable experience.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Peppermint appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with an appealing presentation.

Overall sharpness remained good. A smattering of wider elements could seem a little soft, but those didn’t create real distractions.

Instead, the movie tended to be accurate and concise. I noticed no shimmering or jaggies, and the film lacked edge haloes or source flaws.

The palette opted for a mix of the usual orange and teal. Within stylistic choices, the hues looked fine.

Blacks were deep and dense, while low-light shots depicted appropriate clarity. The image seemed to be more than satisfactory.

With plenty of action scenes, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix often opened up to give us active information. These used the various speakers to create an involving, effective sense of these situations and circumstances. The elements meshed together well and moved in a satisfying manner.

Audio quality also pleased. Music was peppy and full, while dialogue sounded accurate and concise.

Effects demonstrated good clarity and range, with fine low-end response as necessary. This wasn’t quite a demo-worthy track, but it fared well.

Only two extras appear here, and we start with an audio commentary from director Pierre Morel. He brings us a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, stunts and action, editing, music and connected domains.

At best, Morel brings a passable look at aspects of the production, but he never threatens to deliver anything especially engaging. Morel also goes MIA at times and he often does little more than describe the movie’s story. This turns into a pretty mediocre chat.

A featurette called Justice runs two minutes, 16 seconds and offers notes from Morel and actor Jennifer Garner. They just give us a promotional look at the film that lacks real substance.

The disc opens with ads for Mile 22, The Happytime Murders, Skyscraper, Colette and Operation Finale. No trailer for Peppermint appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Peppermint. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With a female lead, Peppermint comes with a twist on the usual “violent vigilante” genre. Unfortunately, it offers no other creative choices and becomes a tiresome, predictable drag. The Blu-ray comes with solid picture and audio as well as a spotty commentary. Peppermint delivers a subpar action flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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