For the last 12 years, Jennifer Garner has played a string of rom-com love interests and forgettable moms. But before that, the lovable actress got famous for her phenomenal turn as super-spy Sydney Bristow in one of my all-time favorite shows: Alias. So you can imagine my excitement when I watched the trailer for Peppermint (which you can view below), and saw Garner back in her element. But does this revenge story live up to the hype?
Helmed by Taken director Pierre Morel, Peppermint is a fast-paced thriller about a mother who seeks vengeance after her husband and daughter are brutally murdered by a drug cartel. Although the film begins in media res (you know that annoying gimmick where the story starts in the present and then flashes back five years earlier), the rest of the adventure is packed with action. Most importantly, the emotion fuels the action. We’re invested in Riley’s quest because we want her to get justice against the people who wronged her, and that makes for a number of tearjerking moments which Garner pulls off beautifully. Quite cleverly, the film also contains a few comedic moments to contrast the heartbreaking tragedy at the center of the story.
As expected, Jennifer Garner owns the film. It’s extremely refreshing (like peppermint yes), to see the actress immerse herself in an action role once more. Her intense training regiment definitely paid off, and she’s fantastic in the film’s brutal action sequences. Much like Tom Cruise (although there are no crazy stunts here), Garner’s stunt double is nowhere to be found (or nowhere that I could catch at least), and that ensures a very authentic experience.
Garner’s supporting cast is also solid, with both Annie Illonzeh and John Gallagher Jr. turning in very likable performances as a pair of agents on Garner’s trail. However, this is Garner’s film through and through, and she’s magnificent. Here’s hoping that after Peppermint, Hollywood continues to give the actress a whole lot of opportunities to kick ass. Why doesn’t she have her own blockbuster franchise yet?
Spearheaded by Garner’s outstanding performance, Peppermint is an exhilarating revenge tale with a whole lot of heart.