Peppermint (2018 film)

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A woman standing against wall, painted there are red wings, but with bullets instead of feathers
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPierre Morel
Written byChad St. John
Produced by
CinematographyDavid Lanzenberg
Edited byFrédéric Thoraval
Music bySimon Franglen
Distributed bySTXfilms
Release date
  • September 7, 2018 (2018-09-07)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$22.8–25 million[1][2]
Box office$53.9 million[2]

Peppermint is a 2018 American vigilante action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel and starring Jennifer Garner. Also featuring John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr., Juan Pablo Raba, and Tyson Ritter, the plot follows a mother who transforms herself into a vigilante in a quest for revenge against the drug cartel that killed her husband and daughter.

The film was released in the United States on September 7, 2018. It grossed $53 million worldwide and received generally negative reviews from critics, but more positive reviews from audiences. The film was released on Netflix in 2020, as well as other platforms.


Riley North is a banker in Los Angeles, struggling financially alongside her husband Chris, the owner of a failing mechanic shop. They have a ten-year-old daughter, Carly. Chris is offered the chance by one of his friends to take part in a robbery targeting Diego Garcia, head of a powerful drug-trafficking syndicate. Chris turns him down, but Garcia thinks he was part of the plan, and after brutally murdering Chris's friend he sends out three of his men to kill Chris as well. Riley and Chris take Carly to a carnival for her birthday after an awful suburban mother named Peg makes sure that no one goes to Carly's planned party. As the family walks to their car, Garcia's triggermen gun them down in a drive-by shooting. Carly and Chris are killed, and Riley is badly wounded.

Despite her injuries, Riley positively identifies the shooters. A senior LAPD detective, Beltran, warns his younger partner Carmichael that cops who interfere in Garcia's business end up dead. Prior to the preliminary hearing, Riley is visited by Henderson, a cartel lawyer. When Riley refuses to take his bribe, he uses her anti-psychotic medication to portray her as unreliable in court. Judge Stevens dismisses the case, and the prosecutor, Goldman, does nothing in response. Outraged, Riley is subdued while attacking her family's killers in court, and is committed to a psychiatric ward. Before her ambulance can leave, she fights her way out and escapes.

Five years later, Beltran and Carmichael arrive at the carnival to find the three men who killed Riley's family hanging from a Ferris wheel (in the film's opening sequence, Riley had beaten one of them until he was bloody and then shot him in the head). The killings attract the attention of FBI Agent Lisa Inman, who informs the detectives that Riley robbed her bank and used the money to travel abroad. Living on a string of false identities, she has been traveling throughout Europe and Asia, studying combat and military tactics. Video footage reveals that she was recently involved in a theft of multiple "military-grade" firearms from a gun shop.

Meanwhile, Riley drowns Goldman in his pool, burns Henderson alive in his house, and kills the now-retired Stevens in an explosion. Inman, Carmichael, and Beltran inform the media about Riley, triggering a debate between those who see her as a vigilante hero or a criminal. Elsewhere, Garcia comes under pressure from his cartel partners after Riley destroys two of his drug shipments in a week, and they warn him that he is their puppet and they can cut him loose if he doesn't handle his business.

Riley guns down a gang laundering money for the cartel and burns their shop down; Garcia vows to kill her. Tracking recent crime patterns, Inman discovers that Riley has been living on Skid Row. She finds Riley's van full of stolen weapons and learns that the people there see Riley as their guardian angel.

Garcia sets a trap for Riley by rigging his warehouse with explosives. She survives, then humiliates him by breaking into his mansion and killing Salazar and Garcia's bodyguards. Before she can shoot Garcia, his young daughter interrupts them. When Riley hesitates, Garcia wounds her and escapes. Riley shows up at Peg's house and punches her out. After cleaning her wounds, and restraining and mocking Peg for Peg's failed marriage, Riley steals her SUV.

Inman asks Carmichael to meet her at Skid Row. She hopes to convince Riley to help them take down Garcia, but Carmichael kills Inman and tips off Garcia that Riley is on her way there.

At Skid Row, Riley confronts and kills Garcia's lieutenant, Cortez, and his gunmen. She uses Inman's phone to contact the media and exposes Carmichael's corruption. When the police arrive, Garcia kills Carmichael, assuming he ratted him out to the police. Garcia flees, but Riley catches him, beats him up, and is about to shoot him. Beltran arrives and asks Riley to stand down and assures her that Garcia will surely rot in prison this time with no hope of bribing himself out. But Riley is unconvinced, remembering how the system failed and turned on her the last time she put faith in it. Garcia taunts her that she will spend more time in prison than him when they are arrested. Riley replies that neither of them are going to prison, and she fulfills her promise of shooting him in the face. As the police shoot at her, Beltran orders them to cease fire, and Riley escapes.

Beltran finds Riley critically wounded at her husband's and daughter's gravestone. He takes her to the hospital despite her desire to die. On the news, the police chief states that Riley North will be made to answer for her actions. Beltran later visits Riley while she is in police custody at a hospital, telling her that there are many, including police officers, who agree with her actions. He covertly passes her a key to her handcuffs, and walks away to allow her to escape.



In May 2017 director Pierre Morel was attached to the project, he previously directed the first film in the Taken series starring Liam Neeson. The script, influenced by the Marvel Comics character Frank Castle / Punisher,[3] came from writer Chad St. John, who previously co-wrote the script for London Has Fallen.[4] In August 2017, Jennifer Garner was in talks to join the film as Riley North, a woman who, driven by the deaths of her husband and daughter, killed by a cartel, wages a one-woman war on crime using various weapons.[5][6] The title of the film, "Peppermint", refers both to the flavor of ice-cream the character's daughter was eating upon her death, and the eventual alias taken by her as she embarks on her crusade.

Filming took place on location in California over fifty days.[1]

Stunt coordinator Don Lee previously worked with Garner on Daredevil and Elektra.[7] Garner trained for three months to prepare. Training included dance, cardio and weight training, boxing workouts, artillery sessions, and stunt work with her longtime double, Shauna Duggins.[8][9]


The film premiered at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 in Los Angeles on August 28, 2018.[10] Ahead of the release of the film Garner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[11]

The film went on general release in the United States on September 7, 2018.[12][13][14]

Box office[edit]

Peppermint has grossed $35.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $18.4 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $53.8 million,[2] against a production budget of $22.8 million,[1] to $25 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Peppermint was released alongside The Nun and God Bless the Broken Road, and was projected to gross $10–13 million from 2,980 theaters in its opening weekend.[15] The film made $4.7 million on its first day, including $800,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $13.4 million, finishing second at the box office, behind The Nun.[16]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 12% based on 151 reviews, and an average rating of 3.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Far from refreshing, Peppermint wastes strong work from Jennifer Garner on a dreary vigilante-revenge story that lacks unique twists or visceral thrills."[17] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 29 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[16]

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "Death Wish on steroids", and said it "lacks subtlety and anything even remotely resembling credibility, but, like its heroine, it certainly gets the job done".[19] IndieWire's Jude Dry gave the film a "C+". He wrote that Garner deserves to be in better films, and said the film is a "rare return to form for Garner, who doles out her vigilante justice with effortless charm. Unfortunately, that's about the only reason to see Peppermint".[20]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two out of four stars, writing, "In the stylishly directed but gratuitously nasty and cliché-riddled Peppermint, Garner plays essentially two characters cut from the same person."[21] Writing for TheWrap, Todd Gilchrist said that Peppermint "ultimately possesses the stale predictability of an unwrapped candy discovered at the bottom of a purse."[22] Andrew Barker of Variety wrote: "Garner gives everything that is asked of her, from brute physicality to dewy-eyed tenderness, but this half-witted calamity botches just about everything else. Drably by-the-numbers except for the moments where it goes gobsmackingly off-the-rails, Peppermint misfires from start to finish."[23] Emily Yoshida of New York Magazine wrote: "There was a time when a woman being the star of her own bad action franchise could have been considered the apex of progress, but that time is past." Yoshida criticizes the lack of originality in the film and says that casting Garner is not enough to change that.[24]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2019 EDA Special Mention Awards Actress Most in Need of a New Agent Jennifer Garner Nominated
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress Jennifer Garner Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Worst Film Peppermint Nominated
Young Entertainer Awards Best Supporting Young Actor – Feature Film Tate Birchmore Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Film and Television Tax Credit Program Program 2.0 (PDF) (Report). California Film Commission. p. 9. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Peppermint (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Brittney (November 19, 2021). "What Does The Graffiti On The Movie Peppermint Say?". Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Ford, Rebecca (May 21, 2017). "Cannes: Lionsgate Takes Female Action Movie 'Peppermint'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  5. ^ Lee, Ashley (August 8, 2017). "Jennifer Garner in Talks to Star in Revenge Thriller 'Peppermint'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  6. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. (August 8, 2017). "Jennifer Garner Joins Lakeshore & Pierre Morel-Helmed Revenge Thriller 'Peppermint'; STX films To Distribute". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  7. ^ Brittany Frederick (December 15, 2018). "Peppermint interview: Don Lee on coordinating Jennifer Garner's fights". FanSided.
  8. ^ Ruth Kinane (September 7, 2018). "Jennifer Garner had 'the greatest fun' training to kick butts for 'Peppermint'". Entertainment Weekly.
  9. ^ Amy Nicholson (August 20, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Talks Walk of Fame, TV After 'Alias'". Variety. I don’t like to give up my action scenes to my beloved double Shauna [Duggins] to do for me because I want to do them
  10. ^ Quinn, Dave (August 29, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Returns to the Red Carpet in a Little Black Dress at Peppermint Premiere". People.
  11. ^ Delbyck, Cole (August 21, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Makes Rare Appearance With Kids At Hollywood Walk Of Fame Ceremony". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on November 27, 2018.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 22, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Thriller 'Peppermint' Sets Post-Labor Day Weekend Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (March 22, 2018). "Jennifer Garner's Action-Thriller 'Peppermint' Sets September Release". Variety. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  14. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 22, 2018). "'Taken' Helmer Pierre Morel To Direct 'The New Mrs. Keller' With Claes Bang Set As Lead". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 4, 2018). "'The Nun' To Fly To $40M+, Eyes Record Opening For 'Conjuring' Franchise – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  16. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 9, 2018). "'The Nun' Hits The Hallelujah With $54M Opening, Best Ever In 'Conjuring' Universe – Sunday AM Update". Deadline. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  17. ^ "Peppermint (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  18. ^ "Peppermint reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  19. ^ Scheck, Frank (September 6, 2018). "'Peppermint' Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  20. ^ Dry, Jude (September 6, 2018). "'Peppermint' Review: Jennifer Garner's Vigilante Mom Deserves Better". IndieWire. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  21. ^ Roeper, Richard (September 6, 2018). "'Peppermint' movie review: Jennifer Garner back to kicking butt in nasty revenge thriller". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  22. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (September 6, 2018). "'Peppermint' Film Review: Jennifer Garner Vengeance Saga Lacks Snap". The Wrap. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  23. ^ Barker, Andrew (September 6, 2018). "Film Review: 'Peppermint'". Variety.
  24. ^ Yoshida, Emily (September 7, 2018). "Peppermint is Bad, Old-Fashioned Action Schlock — and a Female Lead Doesn't Change That". Vulture.

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