Pierre Morel’s tenure in the film industry began in 1989. He’s worked on 20 finished movies in total, five of which he’s directed. His latest project in a directorial role is Peppermint, an action-packed romp starring Jennifer Garner. Question is, is Peppermint stale or a sweet treat?

PEPPERMINT BLU-RAY REVIEW

Peppermint’s lone special feature (save for a requisite commentary track) on its Blu-ray disc is a two-minute “Justice” video, which sees Garner discuss her investment in the picture. She expressed her excitement when she first read the script, praising it for being “original.” She also expressed how nice it was to portray a strong heroine — something she hadn’t truly done before. While there’s no doubt her character is a strong woman in the mold of characters who are traditionally male, the former comment is one that I never saw realized in the movie.

Garner plays Riley North, a grief-stricken widow whose husband and daughter were murdered right before her. She survives the hit (albeit barely) to awake from her coma and discover the city’s drug cartel orchestrated the murders. Their influence, moreover, has corrupted the institutions that should be assisting her, compromising the police and the courts. Riley escapes her sentencing and reemerges five years later, enacting her vengeance-fueled conquest for justice.

Peppermint‘s mostly one-sided action sequences were serviceable (if unmemorable) and one can sympathize enough with Riley’s motivations, but it’s hard to get too invested in her activities when the threadbare story did little to explore her psyche in ways similar vigilante films haven’t done with their protagonists. And while it was nice to see Riley interact with a few kids (obvious surrogates for her own daughter), she nor the other adult characters ever interact with each other in any particularly interesting ways. Peppermint may have been a creative outlet for its lead actress, and she absolutely performed an incredible job with the material; Riley’s pained facial expressions and the emotion she conveys are Peppermint’s highlight, the one standout in an otherwise bland affair.