Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Pepperment

Pepperment
Starring:
Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz,  Jeff Hephner, Cailey Fleming, and Jeff Harlan


Rated: R for strong violence and language throughout.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: September 7, 2018 Released by: STX Entertainment

Who would believe that Girl Scout Cookies could be the cause of a massive revenge carried out by a quiet banker (Jennifer Garner).  

Jennifer Garner carries out the role of Riley North, a bank manager who is married to Chris (Jeff Hephner) a struggling mechanic who has been asked to take part in a robbery of a drug cartel to get himself out of debt.  The potential robbery is the cause of the attack which takes the life of Chris and daughter Carly (Cailey Fleming).

The cookies are the initial catalyst when Riley and Carly are forced to stop selling their cookies at a particular location by a nasty blond women in white pants who has claimed that location for her and her daughter.  Sounds like drug dealers holding their corners to sell on.  Discouraged they return home where a celebration of the little girls birthday is to take place.  But the nasty blond has co opted the party by inviting all those invited to a special party at her home.  Riley, Carly and Chris head to an amusement park for special birthday evening.  

The drug cartel members have eliminated the friend who involved Chris in the plans to grab drug money and next they go after Chris, taking him and little Carly in a massive shot out at the entrance to the amusement park.  Riley is also wounded but recovers and disappears for five years, after a judge declares her eyewitness testimony is not sufficient to hold the three thugs over for trial.  

The motivation for revenge is set and ready for Riley when she returns on the fifth year anniversary of the murder of her family.  We are initially introduced to her revenge when the LA police find the three killers dead hanging upside down on a Ferris wheel.  From there we are exposed to her nearly super human slaughter of everyone who had anything to do with the murder of her family.  

She has a particularly nasty plan for Jeff Harlan who plays the judge.  She leaves him tied with explosive rope after nailing him to his desk.  From there, she takes on the massive underworld drug dealers.  Two LA cops on the case can find Riley even when they have surveillance all over the city from an extensive visual system.  She also has an innovative plan for the blond who started the events.  

Like Charley Bronson's Paul Kersey in Death Wish (1974) Riley rips through the evil cartel members killing in various creative ways.  

Filled with empty hollow characters, from dirty cops to the corrupt judge, all working with the evil nasty dealers who have complete control of the city.  The script paints a dark city of Los Angeles with only one crime free location, skid row where there are no crime reports.  

Using only violent attacks rather than smart twists to destroy everyone involved in the murder of her family, Garner's Riley shots up the streets of the city and the cops can't find her until everyone is dead.  

The image of the ferris wheel used as a symbol with the three dead killers and a painting of Riley with angel wings holding automatic weapons on a  skid row wall are interesting but the characters are hollow and nothing happens that isn't expected.  

The violent revenge works but don't expect anything creative in the script.  

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Gerry Matt Claudette Jennifer Audralee Nina  Avg. 
Pepperment  C      D   C-         B            C 

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