Running an international drug cartel seems like a relatively foolproof way to make a living: There’s decent money in it, you get to have henchmen, and the only hard-and-fast rule is to avoid murdering Jennifer Garner’s husband and daughter. If you’ve never heard of “the Garcia cartel,” the crime family featured in Peppermint, it’s probably because they ignored conventional wisdom and murdered Jennifer Garner’s husband and daughter. Not only that, but they murdered Jennifer Garner’s husband and daughter on her daughter’s birthday, which would definitely be explicitly prohibited by the Cartel Code of Honor if “murdering Jennifer Garner’s husband and daughter on her daughter’s birthday” didn’t already fall under the already-forbidden category of “murdering Jennifer Garner’s husband and daughter.” And it gets worse for the Garcia Cartel: at the time of her murder, Jennifer Garner’s daughter had just taken a ride on a merry-go-round, a symbolically fraught activity that not only suggests fleeting childhood innocence, but also Face/Off, Strangers on a Train, and even Shoot ’Em Up.
What do those movies have in common, besides the merry-go-rounds? Not a single one of them is about the head of a drug cartel enjoying a long, comfortable retirement after many years of successfully not murdering Jennifer Garner’s husband and daughter, especially not on her daughter’s birthday.
Peppermint, then, looks like it will be a stern cautionary tale for drug cartels and their henchmen about the danger of murdering Jennifer Garner’s husband and daughter. It comes from director Pierre Morel, who specializes in this kind of instructional fable: he also directed Taken (don’t kidnap Liam Neeson’s daughter!), From Paris With Love (don’t bomb John Travolta’s summit meeting!) and The Gunman (don’t hire Sean Penn to assassinate the Congolese Minister of Mines and then double-cross him!). The screenplay is by Chad St. John, one of the writers behind London Has Fallen (Don’t do terrorism in front of Gerard Butler without at least watching Olympus Has Fallen first!), so it’s a sure thing that Peppermint will be chock full of useful tips and tricks for criminals who might be considering getting on a celebrity’s bad side. The film comes out on Sept. 7; adjust your celebrity-related-crime schedule accordingly.