September 07, 2018


Trump the Movie

Grade: C –
Director: Pierre Morel
Starring: Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr. and John Ortiz
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.

A malformed mashup of Batman Begins, Kill Bill, and Law Abiding Citizen, Peppermint is a gender-switching, reprehensible revenge fantasy about “virtuous” America rising up against such Trump-tailored targets as Mexican gangs, prosecutors, judges, and cops (everybody except the mainstream media, it appears). Many of these groups get their comeuppance (mostly excessive) because they failed at their jobs for reasons both incompetent and corrupt, qualities that this film shares in abundance.

The film’s fulcrum is that if you just know the wrong person, you and your family are liable to get gunned down by Latino drug dealers while enjoying ice cream at the local fair. With her husband and daughter dead, Riley North (Jennifer Garner) watches the killers go free and herself sent to psych ward. Riley escapes, retreats overseas, joins some fight clubs, and returns five years later to exact vengeance on everyone in the system who wronged her.

Even as a base revenge fever dream, Peppermint misses the mark by showing Riley dispatching scores of miscellaneous minions while many of her specific targets are slain off-screen. That bungling is particularly bizarre in the case of a couple of corrupt prosecutors, who we learn about their transgressions and fates as a passing mention during a conversation. Heck, even Riley’s metamorphosis from Linda Hamilton in The Terminator to Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 occurs via exposition and a brief flashback.

Riley’s trail of reprisal becomes well-publicized, and director Pierre Morel (Taken, natch) tries to tack on a public conflict over whether Riley is a violent murderer or a justified avenging angel, a false choice belied by common sense. Peppermint is more sour than sweet, a pile distasteful agitprop that could have been produced by the most radical recesses of an alt-right think tank.

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