FRIDAY, SEPETMBER 7, 2018 -- Jennifer Garner's last film was the gay coming of age film "Love Simon" in which she play the loving, thoughtful mother of a teen boy as he comes out about his sexuality. The movie was well done and Garner was convincing as the ideal mom.


Director Pierre Morel's last film was "The Gunman" with Sean Penn as a badass mercenary who is set up as an assassin and must get revenge. It wasn't great, but Penn was fairly believable in the lead and there was an adequate amount of action to offset the really shallow plot and cardboard characters. He also directed "Taken" with Liam Neeson on a mission to save his kidnapped daughter and to enact some bloody revenge. But the main thing is the copious amounts of bloody revenge.


Then came the "Me Too" movement and now there is a flood of action films featuring badass women. I'm talking about Charlize Theron in "Atomic Blonde", Scarlett Johansson in "Ghost in the Shell", and Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz in (what else) "Revenge". Charlize and Scarlotte have portrayed tough women before so those films were very doable. But Morel decided to cast "Ms PTA" Jennifer Garner ("Valentine's Day", "Mother's Day", "Juno", "Dallas Buyer's Club") as a badass mother out guessed it... revenge.

The film starts out with Riley North (Garner) out for a birthday celebration with her husband (Jeff Hephner) and young daughter (Cailey Fleming) at the local amusement park. What she didn't know was her husband had considered helping a friend rob the local drug dealer. What he didn't know is that the local drug dealer got wind of the plan and called for hubby's execution. Unfortunately, the daughter gets whacked as well. Riley is heartbroken and pissed.


Usually at this time the movie does a montage of the revenge seeking character getting trained in prepared for the revenge. Instead, he just has Riley disappear and come back fully trained in arms, hand-to-hand combat, explosives and other skills that people train for many, many years to learn. The funny thing is she still looks like the puny mommy she was before, only sweatier.


She starts killing off the drug dealer's thugs, starting with the ones who killed her husband and daughter. On the case is local police detective Stan Carmichael (John Gallagher Jr.) who can't figure out who could be doing all this damage to such notorious bad guys. He gets some intel from local FBI agent Lisa Inman (Annie Ilonzeh) who comes to help solve the mystery. Meanwhile, the carnage continues with the drug boss Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba) starting to feel a bit uncomfortable as the killings get closer and closer to him.


STOP! Rotate your tires! Look at this unbelievable farce for what it is, a very predictable, miscast semi-adrenaline vehicle for the "Me Too" movement. There was even a small rule change on the set, when Ms Garner was told not to change in front of the male cast members!


Jennifer is a delightful actress, but has been know to take a dog role or two (see "Mother's Day", "Butter", "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past"), so this is no surprise. But her character is hardly believable as she sleeps through her cliche lines. But she's not the only one, morel does everything to make the drug dealer and thugs look very cartoonish and laughable.


Fight coordinator Don Lee ("Equalizer 2", "12 Strong", "Star Trek: Beyond") can chalk the many mundane fight sequences up to poorly prepared talent. there was absolutely nothing remarkable worth remembering.


"Peppermint" is laughable for action junkies, but entertaining for novice fans of mindless action-like scenes. Woman will probably like it much more than men, and even they will walk away disappointed.   -- GRADE C- --   GEOFF BURTON