Streaming offers a fascinating opportunity for films that bombed on their first release to be reassessed at a later date. This means that ahead of their time films can get the retrospective love they deserve. And some movies can be heartily mocked for just how bad they are. And right now, one of Jennifer Garner’s infamous bombs is shooting up streaming charts.
According to figures from FlixPatrol, Jennifer Garner’s 2018 movie Peppermint is currently the second most popular movie on HBO Max, an impressive feat considering the depth and breadth of that popular streaming service. Directed by Pierre Morel, Peppermint casts Garner as Riley North, a Los Angeles banker whose family are struggling to keep their head above water.
When Riley’s husband is offered the chance to perform a robbery targetting the head of a drug trafficking syndicate, he turns it down. However, despite this, the drug lord thinks the husband was part of the gang. He has his men kill both Chris and his young daughter in a drive-by shooting. Riley, while present at the incident, is only injured. But once she recovers, she goes on a rampage of revenge, aiming to avenge her family.
Unfortunately, this film didn’t resonate with critics in the same way that other revenge thrillers like John Wick did. Peppermint currently has a terrible 12% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Most critics said that the film was cliche and felt like a retread of numerous other revenge films that have been released over the years. Others pointed out that the film mostly sees Garner killing people of color, and most of them are cartoonishly evil, bordering on stereotypical, giving the film a slightly worrying subtext.
However, audiences have been much more favorable to the movie. It has a 70% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, with many viewers praising the film’s plot and Garner’s acting, arguing that both come together to create a fun action-thriller. Most reviews also point out that, while the film’s structure has been done before, it is still rare to see a female-led action movie, especially one centered on revenge. Meaning that it does feel original in some small areas, even if the plot is generally cliché
Peppermint is one in a long line of films that has divided audiences and critics. And, while it is a notorious bomb, the joy of streaming is that it is easier than ever to watch the film and find out if you side with the critics or the reviewers. Hopefully, Garner can star in more films, and hopefully, those films allow her to get the critical praise her acting talent deserves.