Cinematic Releases: Female Punisher Unleashed: Peppermint (2018) Reviewed

jennifer garner

Jennifer Garner returns to gun blasting action with the new movie, Peppermint. 

Taking up arms against a stereotypical, heavily tattooed Mexican cartel, the former star of Alias (2001-2006) is back and ready to kill in a story that's simply put, a derivative mess that plays to every genre trope we've experienced before. While some may find theatrical solace in the fact that she's back in action mode here, the light weight of a shoddy script treatment will probably convince many that this was not a worthwhile effort for the actress. 

Have you seen my shirt with the skull logo on it? 

Coming at the tail end of the hot summer box office season, Peppermint is an exacted specimen of revenge and bloodshed that was probably fun for Garner but might be a bit too half-assed for audiences. There is nothing fun or original about this movie. From a story that's under developed to formulaic characters and borrowed plot devices, Peppermint was actually hard to get through. With a cast that features Garner, John Gallagher Jr, and John Ortiz, it's almost shocking that they didn't try harder to alter the final product. There's so much talent behind the project, it's a sin that this is what came of all their work.  

Most will tell you, female vengeance features are the films that keep my blood pumping. From the exploitation of MS. 45 to the sheer horror of I Spit On Your Grave to this year's Get My Gun, movies about women exacting justice on bad men seem to have a special place in this cold, dead heart. With Marvel's Punisher being a massive success for Netflix, it's easy to see where inspiration came from for Peppermint. This is basically Frank Castle-lite with the main character being changed out with a female protagonist. Of course the plot is relative to so many other stories too. 

I stole this heavily armed van from Frank Castle. 

Death Wish, Death Sentence and various features that span decades have used this same general idea. Family or loved one is raped, maimed or killed. Parent seeks justice. Where most try to make a fresh spin or some alternate take on that idea of a parental unit hunting down the people that harmed their loved ones, Peppermint devolves into the exact same themes about social media that this year's Death Wish remake used as one of its central components. 

If you really want to see Jennifer Garner blow holes in people again, you should see this movie just for the gun play sequences. Those are actually done quite well. However, if you're looking for story or any new revelation in vengeance cinema, Peppermint is like the black licorice of action movies. It doesn't taste very good and might upset your stomach in the end.