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Reviews: “Alias” (2001) & “Peppermint” (2018) – ManlyMovie

Reviews: “Alias” (2001) & “Peppermint” (2018)

There have been many debates on this site about women in action roles. And as I have clarified in the past there are some actresses in action roles that have become iconic in our pop culture such as Sigourney Weaver in the “Alien” franchise and Linda Hamilton in the first two “Terminator” movies. These women were great in their roles but most importantly they were great in great movies that went on to become classics.

When Paul Feig decided to make a third ‘Ghostbusters” with an all female cast the promotion surrounding the movie was all about “girl power” and how anyone who did not jump on board was a “Sexist Asshole”. Feig’s “Ghostbusters” forgot how to have a good script, a funny script, one that was worthy of the legacy of the previous two movies and instead we got a self-congratulatory exercise in “Oh look how progressive we are! Let’s pat ourselves on the back” all the while forgetting to do the most important thing, a good movie. Great characters whether they are male or female stand out the most when they are featured in great movies or TV shows.

Examples like this unfortunately will continue with the latest crappy Hollywood trend to remake previously successful movies starring men with a “P.C. Gender Twist” and they would act like that’s all it takes to make a good movie and when they fail to make a  dollar or reach an audience they’ll blame “sexism”. It’s funny how when a movie starring a man doesn’t make money (which lots of them don’t) they’ll just call it “Bad”.

I always felt that a lot of feminazis and soy boys when bringing up “girl power” in both TV & in Film, always seemed not to give credit to the women that truly deserved it. Pam Grier was kicking ass decades ago on screen all the while never forgetting to be feminine and I seriously doubt a lot of people that praised Charlize Theron’s Ass-kicking abilities in “Atomic Blonde” know of Cynthia Rothrock.

One chick that I’ve always had a thing for is Jennifer Garner. She always had that “Goody Two-Shoes-Wifey look” but one who could be a lot of fun in the bedroom, (If you did all your house chores that is).

Jennifer Garner came to fame in one of the most underrated shows of the 21st Century that aired on the American Network “ABC” from 2001 to 2006. The TV Show was the Spy-Action-Drama “Alias”.

“Alias” was a pretty damn good show. I started watching it during the summer hiatus between seasons 1 and 2 and I immediately became hooked on it. If you like espionage films and TV shows & if you have not seen “Alias” then I highly recommended it cause it had a lot of great stuff in it, from the action, the acting and storytelling, it was an all-around good show.

Jennifer Garner played the title role of Sydney Bristow who agrees to become an international spy for a supposed secret branch of the CIA. The job complicates her life, both personal & professional & the situation worsens when she finds out her employer has no ties to the CIA.

The best seasons for me were the first two and a half seasons before the network trying to get new viewers fucked up the format a bit. A lot of the episodes ended on cliffhangers and the network felt that this prohibited new viewers from tuning in and start following the show. The show lost its footing for a while as a result of this but was never bad or unwatchable. In the end all 5 seasons were good TV.

Few things that need to be mentioned is that this was Bradley Cooper’s first big break in Hollywood as Sydney’s friend, Victor Garber was great as Sydney’s Tough Spy father Jack Bristow and Ron Rifkin for my money played one of the best TV villains in ages by the name of Arvin Sloane head of the terrorist cell “SD-6”

When looking for a new director to take the “Mission Impossible” franchise into a new direction, Tom Cruise saw the first episodes of the TV show and offered its creator and executive producer J.J. Abrams the chance to direct the third installment of the franchise.

If you were a fan of “Alias” and then you saw “Mission Impossible 3” you saw the similarities in how the stories were structured. After J.J. Abrams’s involvement in the “Mission Impossible” franchise, the series just went on a certain direction that Tom Cruise liked and as a result more successful installments have been made.

J.J. Abrams’s involvement & achievements in the both the “Star Trek” & “Star Wars” franchise is still a hot topic amongst fans of both series, however I believe that he was really good at stories involving espionage and he should definitely go back to making more spy stuff cause he was really good at it.

Now back to the underrated hottie Jennifer Garner. After her success in “Alias” she went on to star as Elektra in the “Daredevil” movie and it’s spin-off “Elektra”. Now the “Daredevil” movie has a lot of the haters but I happen to like the movie and I recommend also watching the director’s cut which is the R-rated version and it’s a much better movie than the theatrical version but I still enjoyed both films. The “Elektra” unrated version is a slight improvement over the theatrical one but not by much, it still could have been a much better movie.

I genuinely thought that Jennifer Garner should have been given more opportunities in the action genre based on her characters Sydney Bristow and Elektra but her career went in a different direction and I was always a little bit disappointed in this. Whether it was her doing or not, I don’t know, I just felt that she could do more in the genre.

So as a fan of the TV show “Alias” and the “Daredevil” movie I was actually happy to hear that she was doing an action movie from the director of “Taken” titled “Peppermint”.

I love revenge stories and vigilante tales. There’s something awesome in their simplicity. Somebody fucks with you or somebody you love, you get pissed and you go after the motherfuckers that wronged you. It’s entertainment for men.

In the movie “Peppermint” Garner stars as Riley North, a typical caring, loving wife and mother, who watches her husband and daughter get gunned down in front of her very eyes. She awakens from a coma after surviving the brutal attack and after bravely identifying the three gunmen who killed her family, the corrupt system fails her & the murderers go free. This makes Riley North disappear for 5 years and in those five years she became an ass-kicking/killing machine and when she returns to town she comes back to get revenge on everyone involved in her family’s murder.

I enjoyed the movie”Peppermint”  for what it was, it’s not a bad movie, it is what it is, but at the same time it could have been better. The thing about this movie is that I think it would have worked very well as a limited series cause there’s a lot of things in this movie that do not get covered.

You do not see the transformation happening from how North went from a typical soccer mom to an Ass kicking/killing machine. You never get to see her training, you see a few seconds of a video of her cage fighting somewhere, they mentioned places that she had been and that she robbed the bank that she used to worked at and you assume that’s how she supported herself all those years she had gone missing but you never see that. Characters just mention that stuff, that stuff would have been cool to watch.

And you never get to see her kill the 3 men who shot her family down, they just show up dead along with the district attorney and a couple of other people that were instrumental in letting those three men free. The rest of the movie is about North going after the cartel that ordered the hit on her husband and the man who runs it, Diego Garcia played by Juan Pablo Raba. Raba in this movie reminded me of William Forsythe in Steven Seagal’s epic  documentary “Out for Justice”

I was never bored by “Peppermint”, it’s an action movie from beginning to end and sometimes that’s enough if that’s what you are looking for and as a revenge tale it does it’s job. But it could have been a much better movie had it covered more ground. It could have benefited from a longer running time or as I mentioned as a limited series, cause the movie does feel like it’s missing a second act, the movie feels like it went from the 1st act to the 3rd.

So I was happy to see Jennifer Garner back in the action genre and “Peppermint” is a simple entertaining action movie & Garner is good in it, so I’ll recommend it. And this is a good movie to watch if your woman is forcing you to watch something girly, you can pass this up as a “woman’s movie” while actually getting manly entertainment and not be forced to lose testosterone watching some chick flick garbage.

“Alias”

9/10

“Peppermint”

6/10