“You didn’t serve justice, your honor. I will.”
Where I Watched: Netflix
Genre: Throwback Payback Action
New Holiday Spirit or Ghost of Christmas Past?: Harks back to the uber-violent 70s and 80s action flicks, especially stuff like the Death Wish series.
Synopsis: Riley North loses her husband and daughter on December 21st, when drug lords decide to take them all down for an incorrectly perceived threat. The baddies get off thanks to lots of dirty dealing within the justice system… But five years later, a healed up Riley comes back ready for revenge.
Unwrap or regift?: 12% on Rotten Tomatoes? OH C’MON. This movie is a blast. Literally and figuratively. You dig 70s and 80s revenge stories? You’re gonna enjoy the hell outta Peppermint. It’s the kind of cathartic payback tale that’ll get you pumped.
The dialogue is super cheesy, but I dig it. “This is one of those life altering moments. Do I have your attention?” Yes. Yes you definitely do. Also, every plot point is telegraphed, the tropes are laid on thick and heavy, and hoo boy the bad guys are nothing more than future corpses. Dragging this genre into the 21st century, we have vague mentions of social media, with many people online cheering her on, calling her a “badass”.
A twist gets thrown in towards the end, but as there’s zero buildup to it (not even the tiniest whiff), I just shrugged and grabbed another fistful of popcorn. That so-so surprise doesn’t add or subtract anything from the paint by numbers plot, so it washed right over me.
Still, even with all the “seen it before”-ness of this film? I got a calming sense of satisfaction in all the avenging angel stuff Jennifer Gardner’s Riley gets up to onscreen. Maybe because this year has been a shitshow of epic proportions. Maybe because I grew up watching Norris, Eastwood, and Bronson lay down their own brand of payback. Probably a little of both.
As the inciting incident happens on December 21st, there’s a holiday touch here and there, sliding this film into holiday territory. Hey, if gormless romantic crap can put up a tree and call it The Holidays, so can any other genre. And I’m 100% here for it all.
So basically Peppermint is a great warm-up for your yearly viewing of Die Hard. Happy Merry, motherfuckers. *cues big ass explosion*
Score: 4.5 out of 5 Hos.