“Vigilante Mom” is turning into a full-blown, though low-budget, action genre right now. There was 2017's Kidnap, in which Halle Berry transforms into a car-chasing vigilante when her child is abducted, and then the recent Breaking In, which has Gabrielle Union out to protect her children from violent intruders. Now Jennifer Garner joins the bloody, ripped mom ranks in Peppermint, a movie where she seeks gruesome revenge for the death of her child.
Garner plays a mom named Riley, whose daughter and husband are gunned down by members linked to the “Garcia cartel.” Gaslighted by corrupt cops and the justice system, who let the murderers off the hook, she disappears and spends five years toning her muscles and training to fight (read: stocking up on a gazillion semi-automatics.) And when the five-year anniversary of her family’s murder comes along, she comes back for revenge.
While I love the idea of Garner starring as a crazed mom out for blood, I’d have to say that something about this movie feels uncomfortably Trumpian (ugh I’m sorry, I’m sorry!!!) The trailer is littered with lines like “well at least somebody’s doing something,” which feels like catnip dialogue for people who go crazy over their right to bear arms. Do we really need a revenge thriller that overly exaggerates Latino gangs shooting down innocent white people right now?
“What do I want?” Riley says in the trailer. “I want justice.” I think if I shoo away all the weird political implications of a movie like this, at the end of the day, that’s all I want for Jennifer Garner, too.
Peppermint is in theaters September 7.