- Directed by Pierre Morel
- Written by Chad St. John
- Starring Jennifer Garner, John Ortiz and John Gallagher Jr.
- Classification 14A; 100 minutes
At the end of a recent press screening of the revenge thriller Peppermint, the film ended abruptly, with the traditional rolling of closing credits replaced by the bright glare of house lights. This was likely a technical error on the part of the theatre, or maybe the credits simply weren’t ready, given that critics saw the film a month ago, before the crush of festival season. But I couldn’t help wondering whether no one simply wanted to admit they worked on Peppermint, a laughably bad melange of blood, guts and racial stereotypes.
Both a reminder that star Jennifer Garner used to kick serious butt on television’s Alias and a push to place her in late-career Liam Neeson territory, Peppermint leaves all sorts of terrible tastes in your mouth. The premise has potential, in a grindhouse sort of way, with Garner playing a doting mother who goes vigilante after her husband and young daughter are gunned down by L.A. gangbangers.
Yet Garner is saddled with a director who doesn’t know how to stage a fight (let alone a minute of genuine emotion), and bad-hombre villains plucked from the fever dreams of Donald Trump. The plot holes are large, the violence is preposterous, and its star can only put on a brave face and blow someone up.
If producers were wise, they’d keep their names off this disaster forever.
Peppermint opens across Canada Sept. 7.