Rated: R
Release Date: 09/07/2018
Production Company: STX Films

Jennifer Garner, John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr., Juan Pablo Raba and
Tyson Ritter.

Director: Pierre Morel. Producers: Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Jackie Shenoo and Richard S. Wright. Executive Producers: David Kern, James McQuaide, Renee Tab and Christopher Tuffin.
Screenwriter: Chad St. John. Cinematographer: David Lanzenberg.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

The very particular set of skills that Jennifer Garner possesses in her new revenge thriller, “Peppermint” wouldn’t just make Liam Neeson proud, but John Wick--aka Keanu Reeves--Jason Statham and the late, Charles Bronson too.

Riley North (Garner) may look like your typical, angelic, suburban mom, but all that changes as she watches her husband Chris (Jeff Hephner, TV’s “Mars”) and adorable, peppermint ice-cream loving 10-year-old daughter Carly (Cailey Fleming, TV’s “Better Things”) get shot to death at an amusement park by three ruthless punks.

Riley barely survives the ordeal and is transported to a hospital/psych ward, but manages to escape. Turns out her husband Chris had a friend who got caught up with a drug lord named Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba, “7 Days in Entebbe” and TV’s “Six”) and tried to steal money from him. He figured Chris was in on it too, so Diego sent his henchmen to settle the score.

Well as Riley says, watching someone take everything from you, turns you into someone else. And when a corrupt judge (Jeff Harlan, TV’s “Roseanne”), who is bought and paid for by Diego rules there’s insufficient evidence to move the case forward—despite Riley’s perfect court room testimony—the killers laugh and walk free.

However, Riley isn’t about to let these goons get away just like that. Five years later, we see their bodies hanging upside down from a Ferris wheel at the very park where Chris and Carly were shot.

Who on earth could possibly be so bold to do that?

That’s the burning question LAPD detectives, Stan Carmichael (John Gallagher Jr., “The Belko Experiment”) and Moises Beltran (John Ortiz, “Kong: Skull Island”) want to know along with how Judge Stevens (Harlan) wound up tied to his office desk inside his house which was blown to smithereens.

FBI agent Lisa Inman (Annie Ilonzeh, “All Eyez on Me” and TV’s “American Horror Story”) has done her homework and discovered that since Riley’s family tragedy, she’s spent much of her time traveling, learning Mixed Martial Arts and how to go undetected in a junky van parked along Los Angeles’ Skid Row.

There is plenty of stylish and over-the-top bloody violence in “Peppermint” which should bode well for those who enjoy this kind of guilty pleasure.

Director Pierre Morel (“Taken”) and screenwriter Chad St. John (“London Has Fallen”) add a nice wallop of intrigue by placing a rogue cop into the mix and leaving us to guess just who’s corrupt and working with Diego. Spoiler Alert: Thankfully, it’s not Method Man who plays a narcotics detective.

Make no mistake though, Jennifer Garner is terrific in “Peppermint” and she embraces her bad-to-the-bone persona with fire and fury.

Garner’s Riley character even goes so far to do little things to earn the respect and trust of the poor in Los Angeles who soon consider her their guardian angel.

I like seeing women get rough and tough in revenge thrillers and doing everything the big boys usually do.

Gabrielle Union proved that “Payback Is A Mother” earlier this year in the thrilling movie, “Breaking In.” Last year even Halle Berry showed she wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty in the gripping drama, “Kidnap.”

Those who loved Garner in the hit TV series “Alias,” should also find “Peppermint,” a tasty and satisfying action flick.

Don't forget to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Check Out This Trailer For "PEPPERMINT"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Brian's Song Title: Brian's Song
Year Released: 1971
Running Time: 90
Production Company: Screen Gems (Sony)
Director: Buzz Kulik
Director of Photography: Joseph F. Biroc
Screenwriter: Gale Sayers, Al Silverman and William Blinn
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: This Review Reprinted In Honor Of Movie Critic Bill Gibron--May 14, 1961--May 11, 2018. Pictured Top Left.

Now with summer behind us, the arrival of fall means weekends attending and watching plenty of football games. Whether they’re college, pro or high school, I’m all over them.

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