I almost missed this one.

Peppermint‘s a story about a soccer-mom-turns-vigilante. It’s a rags-to-ruins story, no punches pulled. Corrupt judiciary, dirty cops, ganglords controlling the city, and a family caught in the mincer and spat out. Where things get interesting is how vicious Garner’s Riley North character becomes. She’s powered by the burning fires of revenge, and leaves nothing on the table when the credits roll.

North has a not-ideal but still serviceable regular life. Money’s tight, but they have food; social cliques ostracise her kid, but the immediate family rallies around. Her husband Chris, possibly not the brightest bulb, hatches a plan to steal cash from the cartels. He nopes out on the ‘opportunity,’ but not before Raba’s Diego Garcia (nicknamed The Guillotine, which should give you the right kind of vibes) gets wind of it, and executes them all as a message: do not fuck with me. Unluckily for Garcia, he only wounds Riley North, and this opens us up for some of the most brutal fight choreography I’ve had the pleasure of seeing since that one scene in BvS (you know the one I mean). Don’t believe me? Here:

The movie doesn’t jump the shark, nor is it unpredictable; it gets the job done with flair I can respect. North uses a great deal of military weaponry to wreak revenge on all parties, and adds in some good martial arts that doesn’t skip a beat. We know she’s up against some tough dudes, but she spent the last five years cage fighting, and she loves her double-taps and head shots. The movie would be merciless to the point of grueling if they hadn’t spent the time providing emotional balance (portrayed through flashbacks and North’s dead daughter Carly who shadows her as a ghostly memory).

When the movie closed, I was like, “Hang on. How did I not hear about this?” I almost scrolled on by when I saw the poster; as a thumbnail, it didn’t really pop. It was only when I noticed Garner’s name I clicked for great justice. As a long time fan of Alias, I was intrigued.

The second almost-fail was the trailer itself. It spends so much time on an idyllic backstory that I was confused: is this a rom-com?

It is not a fucking rom-com. It left me wanting to find out who Garner’s personal trainer was for this movie (tip: it’s Simone De La Rue); she is bad-ass, and fit to 11.

Peppermint joins the ranks of Salt and the more recent Atomic Blonde for giving us worthy heroines. If you’re after a good action movie, this is worth your time. Learn more: [IMDB] [Amazon]

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