Peppermint Blu-ray Review
Everybody wants to be John Wick. When Keanu Reeves surprised the world with his now-franchise action movie, Hollywood seemed to have discovered that pitting one person against a gang of criminals was an easy way to cash in. Perhaps they forgot the plot of nearly every 80’s action movie, but JOHN WICK re-inspired the action hero genre and now we have PEPPERMINT. Comparing the two films is not fair to either film, but the gist is the same in that
John Wick Riley North has her husband and daughter killed in front of her and after watching the killers escape prison time, she vanishes without a trace, only to return on the five year anniversary of their death. But this time, she’s really, really mad.
The trailers might have led you to believe that Riley North was at one time a secret agent or some sort of government assassin. Not so. It turns out after her family is murdered, she steals some cash and goes overseas to train to become a killer. And yes, that movie would have been great as we followed an angry housewife that wants to learn to kill people. Instead, the five years she spends training are glossed over with some quick tidbits thrown around during a discussion among the detectives assigned to find her. So after five years training, Riley comes back fully trained in hand to hand combat and firearms. AMERICAN ASSASSIN did a similar thing with their lead character and I had the same problems then; I don’t know how long it takes to become a trained killer, but I suspect it’s a lot harder than these two movies would have us believe.
Another issue with the film is how they halfway make her a folk hero among the poor and underrepresented. She lives on skid row and the people there paint murals of her with angel wings and seemingly revere her as some sort of guardian angel. But we have no idea why. Did she help them in some way? We don’t know and aside from a glance she gives one of the kids, we never see her interact with them. I point this out because the idea of her becoming a hero to the city and being embraced by the people is a good idea that was presented quickly and abandoned even quicker. If this had been fleshed out more efficiently, it would have added something to the movie that was otherwise lacking.
One of the things everyone loves about JOHN WICK is that it went all out with nonstop, senseless, fun violence. That’s exactly what PEPPERMINT needed. Sure, losing your spouse and child is a lot heavier than losing your dog, but the motivation for the violence is almost irrelevant. What is relevant is how over the top the violence is and how much fun it is to root for the underdog vigilante. In the case of PEPPERMINT, Garner brings back her Alias character and puts on a good show, but everything seems to move like it’s stuck in mud. Throw in a predictable dirty cop and a terrible villain and PEPPERMINT is easy to forget.
Video: This is a nice looking transfer with colors and details coming through very well.
Audio: The audio is fine.
Commentary with Pierre Morel: Morel gives a nice commentary and walks you through just about every aspect of filmmaking.