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The Punisher

Action & Adventure movie directed by Jonathan Hensleigh

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Satisfying Action Flick With Guns Galore

  • Sep 9, 2004
  • by
It confuses me at how this film did so poorly when compared to other comic book flicks. It has plenty of great action for the action buffs, the story is excellent, even though many claim that it veers wide of the original story, and the acting is great, excepting John Travolta, whose performance was less than expected.

I loved comics as a kid, and I read a few as I entered college, but I've never read any "Punisher" comics unless he happened to pop up in someone else's story. This movie, however, makes this character much more interesting than I thought before. Many comic fans whine about how this movie altered their beloved Frank Castle, but I think this film does a pretty good job of developing the character, regardless of any liberties taken. Keep in mind that the producers are hoping to reach beyond the typical "Punisher" fanbase, and alterations were necessary. Basically, Castle is portrayed as a vengeful soul, who seeks vigilante justice when his whole family is murdered due to the fact that he kills off a mobster's baby boy. He lives in a rundown apartment complex, becomes an alcoholic, and has neighbors that would freak out folks in the suburbs. Simply put, his world is in shambles and he wants retribution. I'm not sure how far off this character development is, but it fits the film just fine.

Thomas(or Tom) Jane plays Frank Castle/Punisher is this movie. I think he does a fantastic job. I don't see this character as a victim. To me, he is portrayed as a man who has lost everything and seeks to make his pain go away. A victim would just hide in the corner, not go after his enemies, guns ablazing. Others haved said that Castle sulks too much in this movie. Give the guy a break, his whole family has been wiped out! John Travolta plays Howard Saint. He's the main baddie that Castle is hoping to make life a living hell for. Travolta's performance seems forced at times, but once he gets into his "kill" mode, he does a good job. The rest of the cast does a superb job setting up the story. Rebecca Romijn provides eye-candy and a good friend to Castle. Ben Foster does a great job as a pierced-to-the-nines geek who stands up for the Punisher. Pro-wrestler Kevin Nash has a speechless role as "the Russian" who pounds our hero into a pulp. I almost didn't recognize him.

The action is brilliant and, once underway, doesn't stop. Many of the deaths in this film are rather original. Others are just brutal to watch(especially when a certain person catches a train). The R-rating is well deserved. Keep the little comic fans far away from this one.

I've seen pretty much all of the comic adaptations that have been cranked out since the goofy Adam West versions of "Batman." Compared to these other films, I'd rank this particular one just above "Hellboy" and "Blade" due to the acting and story quality. It has plenty of fight sequences, guns, and explosives to quench even the most sadistic thirst. The story is plotted out very well and the acting is better than most of the other comic-to-screen adaptations. Also, in case you're wondering, Dolph Lundgren's "Punisher" doesn't hold a candle to this one.

Comic purists aside, anyone who loves action flicks with a really good plot should love this film. It isn't brainless, though some of that is thrown in thanks to "the Russian." It's a very smart film that is much better than similar flicks such as "Daredevil," which I enjoyed, and ten times as good as the snoozer known as "Hulk." Liberties might have been taken with the characters, but they make for an interesting story.

This film is highly underrated. Don't turn this one down just because it doesn't follow the comic page-by-page. I highly recommend this one.

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More The Punisher reviews
review by . October 01, 2009
This movie is about an FBI agent who basically has his entire family murdered in by a enemy. After the police fail to bring the criminals to justice, he is out for blood and decides to take matters into his own hands. If you like action movies then this is a must see.
review by . September 08, 2004
Not being reader of comic books and not having noticed that this film was base on a Marvel Comic hero, I watched this movie as though it were another Action/Special Effects/Fire and Explosions escape film. It was only about a half hour into this rather violent picture that it became apparent that the characters were just too off the wall NOT to be comic book creations. Now Tom (aka Thomas) Jane is a worthy actor to portray such heroes: he certainly is buff and the camera concentrates more on his …
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Kendall Fontenot ()
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Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


The impressively muscular chest of Tom Jane is the focal point ofThe Punisher, a movie based on a Marvel Comics superhero. Frank Castle (Jane,Deep Blue Sea) retires from the FBI, which means--as any moviegoer expects--that his family is toast. Howard Saint (John Travolta,Face/Off), a shady Florida businessman whose son was killed in Castle's last mission, orders a hit not only on Castle's wife and child, but also on his parents and a whole bunch of aunts, uncles, cousins, and so forth. The killers shoot Castle himself in the chest, but he inexplicably survives and--as any moviegoer expects--sets out to even the score. Implausibly, given his sometimes curious and roundabout methods, he succeeds. Also featuring Will Patton (Armageddon) as an oily thug, Laura Harring (Mulholland Drive) as Saint's fleshpot wife, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (X-Men) as a waitress with bad taste in men.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Genre: Action, Adventure
DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
Runtime: 124 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate
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