“Peppermint,” as the name implies, is a sickeningly hilarious dark comedy lurking in the awful revenge actioner “Peppermint.” It’s more than likely not the film Pierre Morel and Chad St. John intended to make. In “Peppermint,” a recently widowed mother tries to seek vengeance on the cartoonishly evil Latino drug dealers that murdered her husband and young daughter. Following a generally awful experience, Riley North (Garner) goes on a rampage despite obvious psychological trauma that she refuses to treat. Despite the fact that she has been given Lithium and anti-psychotic drugs, Riley’s volatility is so apparent—represented periodically by sped-up, out-of-focus, and over-exposed subjective camera work—that no one in authority takes her word when she claims to recall the faces of the three men who murdered her family.
Even though her spouse and kid’s murderers—a group of joint-smoking, booze-drinking, gun-toting monsters—are still on the run, the system is rigged, and other complaints that were made in the 1980s by underwhelming sequels and ripoffs to “Death Wish” remain valid (though not necessarily better). Somebody must pay; even if Riley’s PTSD-like breakdowns suggest that she shouldn’t be airing her spleen by murdering every complicit and therefore apparently deserving person she can find. But, again: “Peppermint” isn’t a jab at Riley’s privilege. She’s simply a white woman who exists to rail against a misfunctioning legal system and kill a crew of stereotypically brutal Latino gangsters who operate in a piñata store (as announced three times during a news report within the film). How can this not be considered a dark comedy about our present-day difficulties?
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