The Curator of Schlock #248 by Jeff Shuster

Peppermint

Jennifer Garner as Mrs. Vigilante.

This must be the year of the vigilante film. We had the Death Wish remake with Bruce Willis, which was pretty good. We have that Death Kiss movie coming out starring a “Robert Bronzi,” but we all know someone out there in tinsel town used black magic to bring Charles Bronson back from the dead. And back in September, we had Jennifer Garner of Alias fame getting in on the action. The name of the movie is Peppermint from director Pierre Morel.

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What’s the plot? Uhhhhhhh. It’s been a couple of months, but we’ll see what I can recall . Jennifer Garner plays Riley North, devoted wife  to her husband, Chris (Jeff Hephner) and mother to their ten-year-old daughter, Carly (Cailey Fleming). Riley gets into trouble with the a Girl Scout-like group because she sells cookies at grocery stores the other mothers have staked out for their daughters. In retaliation, the mothers refuse to let their daughters go to Carly’s birthday party. Loooooooser! Riley, Chris, and Carly decide to go to a local fair instead. Carly gets a peppermint ice cream cone that looks very yummy, but she doesn’t get to enjoy it for long as members from a drug cartel gun down Riley, Chris, and Carly.

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It seems that Chris had flirted with the idea of ripping off the drug cartel with a friend, but canceled last minute. That wasn’t enough for Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba), a powerful drug lord who will kill you and yours if you even think about stealing from him. He’s a terrifying character, making offerings to Santa Muerte at his drug compound. Riley survives her wounds, manages to identify the shooters, but it all for naught as the judge is on the Garcia’s payroll. Garcia even has police on his payroll. And then Garcia sends his dirtbag lawyer with sacks of cash over to Riley’s house to bribe her. She refuses the money and testifies, but the judge throws out her testimony, declares her insane, and commits her to a mental institution.

Riley escapes and gets out the country, learning how to be a street fighter over in Europe before she heads back to the states five years later. She must have become an expert on guns and explosives because her first stop is that judge’s house. I think she tortures some information out of him about Garcia’s operation, then leaves a bomb under his chair which goes off after she leaves, leveling the house on top of the corrupt judge. And so it goes.

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The police and FBI try to track down Riley North as she declares open war on Diego Garcia, killing his henchmen and his lieutenants in spectacular bloodbaths. She becomes a folk hero, the regular folk, especially the homeless, declaring her an avenging angel. Corrupt police are exposed. Diego Garcia is brought down. You can think of this movie as a modern day The Legend of Billy Jean…with a much higher body count.


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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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