The Punisher (2004)

 


 

This Is Not Revenge. It's Punishment! See »

After his wife and family are killed, G-Man Frank Castle takes it upon himself to distribute punishment to those responsible for the vendetta. Full summary »

Genre: Action,Crime,Drama,Thriller

The Punisher (2004)
   
Release Date: 16 April 2004 (USA)
Country: USA , Germany
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Cast:
  • A. Russell Andrews
  • Omar Avila
  • James Carpinello
  • Mark Collie
  • Russell Durham Comegys
  • Antoni Corone
  • Rick Elmhurst
  • Ben Foster
  • Michael Reardon
  • Laura Harring
  • William Haze
  • Thomas Jane
  • Eddie Jemison
  • Marco St. John
  • Marcus Johns


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32 Responses to The Punisher (2004)

  1. leekemp1978
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    though it’s rated 18 here in the uk it feels more like an 15 there ain’t that much swearing and alot of the vilence happens off screen. is there any more vilence / swearing in the extended edtion?

  2. Shockproof_Jamo
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    Is the 2006 extended cut of this movie worth paying 10 bucks for? Most importantly, what more does the new footage show, because that is pretty much what I’d be paying for.

  3. rustynails30
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    Right after he has all the money thrown out the top floor window, the hitmen sitting on the sofa in the lobby was reading bridal magazine. I paused it to confirm.

    I never noticed it the first few times I’ve seen this movie.

  4. Tiecuando
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    I think free roaming capability is no longer overrated, it’s necessary! That’s what I would bring in with a sequel, like spider-man 2.

    Frank Castle roams the crime ridden streets of New York City basically looking for thugs to kill. He starts off with level IIa body armor, and some pistols, and works his way up, with customizations available. Instead we got that "no mercy" crap!

  5. dnljack01-1
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    How the heck did Howard Saint and his men know where Frank Castle lived? The only person on his side who knew was Micky. But Howard would’ve killed Mickey if he had known he had betrayed him to Frank. So how the heck did they know where he lived? Even in the director’s cut it still isn’t mentioned. Neither is it known how Henry Heck knew the neighborhood where Castle lived. It seems like this whole storyline was kind of rushed.

    Kelloway: Doyle, get in the car.

    Doyle: But I ordered Onion Rings.

    Kelloway: Doyle!

  6. GrantZilla
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    Jane pretty much said that’s all he’s waiting on. Apparantly him and the studio did not see eye to eye. LionsGate is run by completly morons, the kind of morons that put The Punisher out the same weekend as Kill Bill Vol 2.

    The same morons, as Jane said, that think all comic book movies must be over the top and cheesy

  7. Angry_Octopus_WithAGun
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    Ok not that hard to watch but it is an uneasy feeling to see him gasping his last breath pleading "Don’t do this." While being murdered by a man manipulated into it by a vengeful nut. Later o Howard Saint get killed by the Punisher. Castle doesn’t just kill him. He desecrates him. Revealing he tricked him into killing the ones he loved then burning him dragged to a car. Damn! This is some mo harcore sh!t right there.

    One would say the great white is king of the ocean but you don’t argue with an octopus with a gun.

  8. thewade6162
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    So many movies like that out there. The Punisher had a great story, good music, it was very well put together, critics complain about the violence and such well violence is The Punisher, one of those movies that makes me want to not listen to critics more than I already do.

  9. Planet-man77
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    One of my favourite scenes in a comic book movie. It was such a risk to do that scene but payed off so well. Who’s with me?

    =

    Take my advice. Watch "Stella". It’s hysterical. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443409/

  10. adamid4
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    Just awesome…

    IMHO:

    I didn’t even know who the Punisher was back when I saw this movie for the first time back in 2005, it made me a Punisher fan, and then I saw Punisher Warzone and that movie promptly undid any Punisher fandomness I had.

    I fully admit I was never a avid comic reader but this movie had an objective to bring about new fans of the character and it did that for me and I thought Jane was great, and it sucks that it all got flushed down the toilet with Warzone.

  11. realviciousII
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    Not the Whiny Jane Thomas model

    What a waste of Travolta, Roy Scheider, and Harry Heck

    By the Way, Jane Thomas fans, the ONLY reason this sorry film did better than PWZ, also a bad film but far more truer to the Punisher character and entertaining than this debacle

    is due to

    the bad release timing of PWZ-who wants to watch bloodshed around Christmas time ?

    LIONSGATE SCREWED UP!!! and

    The star power of JOHN TRAVOLTA; in fact,

    if it was’nt for Travolta,2004 would’ve been straight to video

    or probably on the WB lineup (yeah I know Marvel is the competition, but Jane Thomas’ Punisher fits in nicely with other effusively , inoffensive bland, estrogen laced offerings such as Charmed, the Gilmour Girls, Smallville].

    After watching Law Abiding Citizen, Butler’s character struck me more as being true to the Punisher than Jane Thomas’s rendition.

    Oh BTW, even Jane Thomas that the Punisher should have been more hardcore and grittier then what he portrayed.

    What I disagreed with was his admonition that he wanted another shot at the role, which I could not abide

    No thanks, Janey. Take your mystic voodoo man, your mobile fire hydrant, and your whining to another cinematic venue that would fit your persona,

    maybe " Alvin and the Chipmunks" or " Fried Green Tomatoes"

  12. Tiecuando
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    Okay, I actually downloaded the comic and I saw the results myself. I’m not too surprised. Did anyone else see it?

  13. GrantZilla
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    I will never understand the dislike for this movie. It is so underrated.

    Movie just like 1970s revenge movies The Punisher was based off of. No CGI. With only a budget of 35 million they got the most out of it.

    Jane does a good job at making The Punisher more than a generic character that Van Damn could’ve played.

    Action scenes are awsome.

    The score was great.

  14. shlone3
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  15. ZOMBIE-8
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    Just an observation, but did anyone else notice that FX played the extended cut of The Punisher in HD? Full 2.35 widescreen as well. Wonder why Lionsgate hasn’t tried to release this on blu-ray, instead of just the theatrical cut.

    Thankfully it wasn’t censored horribly, outside of the shots of the topless waitresses in the Toros’ casino (far more obvious in the extended cut), and any uses of "S-bombs" or "F-bombs". Violence-wise, it seemed uncut. Most obvious when Castle jams his knife under the chin of the one henchman, and we see the bloody blade in his mouth. I honestly thought at least that would be cut… but nope

    Then again, FX also played the R-rated director’s cut of Daredevil. But that actually had a blu-ray release.

  16. cparob-1
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    What is the name of the song used at the start of the film in the club when Mr Saint asked Quentin Glass to dance with his wife?

  17. Burklayton
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    I’ve never understood detail-nazis. I never have, and I never will.

    Every truly great comic book film exercized a great deal of reinvention to produce the maximum amount of quality. People who think War Zone is a better film remind me of the people who threatened to boycott Spider-Man because of organic webshooters.

    Examples of films that reinvented or reimagined things:

    -X-Men and X2: X-Men United

    -Batman Begins and The Dark Knight

    -Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2

    One thing that especially comes to mind is X-Men’s whole take on the Weapon X project. William Stryker, in the comics, was a kind of televangelist gone drunk with power and influence. It’s an interesting concept, and also unbearably cheesy. X2 took the great basic premise of Stryker and turned him into a very interesting character, and simultaneously used him to give a face and identity to Weapon X. So much reinvention, and it bears fruit.

    A milder but excellent detail: Wolverine’s claws. Enormous, intimidating bastards that look like borderline broadswords. It says a lot about his character, imagining how much those damn things must hurt to take out, and yet also envisioning him taking them out again and again, in spiteful town after spiteful town. None of this is taken from a comic, and yet it stays utterly true to the spirit of the character — which is the kind of thing that matters most in a film rendition. They’re called adaptations for a reason.

    Batman Begins — Ra’s al-Ghul = Henri Ducard. I have yet to see a single person complain about the fact that Nolan "arbitrarily slapped two prominent characters in Batman’s life together for the sake of a twist and plot device and to fill plot holes". See? You can give a negative spin to any change, regardless of whether it’s a good thing.

    Or for Dark Knight, the Joker is cited as the best film rendition of the Joker ever by almost all. And for good reason. But where are those Joker origins? There aren’t any, at all. In fact, any implied Joker origins are vastly different from that from the comics. And of course, his general "agenda" — and lack thereof — differs greatly from his random capers of the absurd. And yet it clicked so truly with the spirit of the character that nobody seems to mind.

    Guess what, guys? Frank Castle can’t go straight to film unchanged unless you want to make a period film. And guess what? If a studio takes a risk like that (they won’t), it’d be PG-13 to make up for potential revenue loss via a disconnected audience. So what’s more important to you — MPAA flexibility that allows the filmmakers to offer up a genuine attempt at a Punisher vision, or a film that anally adheres to every inconsequential detail at the expense of artistic freedom?

    Frank was updated to the Gulf War + FBI agent. Why? Because being a Gulf War veteran didn’t have the strenuous psychological impact that the Vietnam vets suffered. The present Iraq War is also hardly given the consideration of war efforts past, nor is it respected even on the grounds of a controversial and questionable foreign policy decision.

    They went with Gulf War to update things so this film wouldn’t have to be set in the damn 70’s. If they didn’t care about a genuine effort, Frank could have come right back from Baghdad, but no, they went with the Gulf War to keep the grizzled war veteran spirit, and added the undercover FBI agent aspect to ratchet up his psychological torment and stress to the appropriate level in the source material.

    It doesn’t matter where Frank got his skills, and it doesn’t matter why he feels the way he does. What matters is that Frank got these skills, and that he feels a certain way about putting them to use. This, the movie pulled off excellently.

    Anyone who wants a light-hearted action romp… I’m sorry, but why? The Punisher is such a psychologically fascinating character, I can’t imagine someone considering a mindless action film to be superior to an insightful character study that happens to contain some feisty action scenes. People criticize Hensleigh’s decision to pay homage to the work of Siegel, Peckinpah, or Miller. Why? These men made film that rang so close to the spirit of The Punisher… films where men, regardless of realistic emotional and psychological dimension, could gun one another down in cold blood for any of a multitude of reasons, but a common one being that the guy deserved it. These are atmospheric, smartly plotted, and tightly written films that Hensleigh drew his inspiration from, and he did so because it fits a hell of a lot better than paying homage to action relics like John McTiernan (whose work I love but is definitely 90% braindead fun and nothing more).

    A common complaint is that Jane plays a good character that isn’t the Punisher. I disagree. This film is about the journey, and I really think it shows that journey damn well. You have a man with a lot of regrets about his life — being absent from his wife and son’s lives, paranoia, death and guilt, moving around — and who is looking forward to an improved life that can rectify these past transgressions. The Saint family’s decision to kill Castle’s entire family is a mortifying one, because the film did a great job of establishing these characters and giving a sense that Frank had something to lose. A lot to lose. The film even plays with your expectations that something might be different from the comic — he really looks like he’s going to successfully save his wife and son, at the least — and ratchets it up further with the worst deaths saved for his immediate family and having them die just seconds before he could do anything about it.

    Everything gets taken from him, quite literally, and so he sets out to take everything from Howard Saint.

    It’s a completely logical transition, and what starts as mere revenge slowly disintegrates into retribution. After a while, you start to get the sense that Frank is slowly assuming the arm of punishment role that we know and love, as opposed to avenging his family. By the time he kills the last of the Saint family, it’s clear he has lost his ability to enjoy his vengeance. In the moments following his family’s deaths, Castle would have bellowed from the depth of his soul about how he outsmarted Saint, and no doubt spouted many a cliche. But instead, he quietly states the facts of what he has done to Saint, before "sending him to hell". That he doesn’t merely shoot Saint in the head is the true climax of the film — where he has truly assumed his mantle as a dark archangel of sorts, rather than a loving father and husband and son and etc that avenged his family. Watch that scene again — he doesn’t even watch Saint die. He just walks away, calmly, like he just filed some paperwork. His soul finds peace with the last moments of Howard Saint’s life, and in assuming his role, but he has gone far to deep into this new persona to enjoy even a moment of it.

    In the climax of the film Castle has come closest to the unstoppable force of retribution that he is in the comics as we ever got to see in Hensleigh’s vision, and it should be blatantly obvious that the film was ratcheting up to that point from the very moment the Jeep’s tires thumped over Maria’s skull.

    With the geeks down the hall, it becomes increasingly clear that Castle has gone too far down the path from broken man to vengeful spirit to return — at least from his perspective. In Bumpo and Dave and Rebecca Romijn’s character (name escapes me at present), he had friends, a family, and a lover. All rolled into one. He had a chance to form a new life and start anew, and he turned away from it with absolutely no regrets — nor any consideration at all. To him, at that point, it seemed equivalent to selecting "True or False" on a university exam — deciphering the correct answer that is apparent, obvious, and absolute. No emotion.

    In a Hensleigh-directed sequel we could have expected a continuation from the beautiful point at which Frank was left. You’d get your cold and removed Punisher that you mistakenly think 2004’s film deprived you of. But you’d get it with some actual style and talent put into the direction and writing. Oh, and for detail-nazis — it would have been set in New York City.

    I knew to worry when I read that the studio had decided to kick Hensleigh out of the director’s chair, and I started worrying when Jane read their revised script and dropped out. He became a rabid Punisher fan through research for the first film, eerily mirroring his character’s transformation in said film, and it would have damn well showed in the second film, that much I can promise you. Stevenson cannot hold a candle to Jane in the traditional sense of acting, and I feel he cannot hold a candle to him in terms of acting the part of the Punisher, either. As Jane’s Punisher descended deeper into a cold void of nonemotion, we could see this transformation taking place in his soul through his eyes, even if he was holding the same expression for minutes at a time. This is a kind of innate acting talent that few have, and the ability to convey emotion and insight through a stonewall outer shell is paramount to a good Frank Castle, and a good Punisher.

    And to get back to the subject of reinvention, for a moment: Harry Heck is, quite possibly, one of the best comic book villains I have ever seen, despite his being a villain original to the film. The concept of a contract killer that writes a song for his marks and performs for them alone is incredibly powerful, and the fact that song was of such unbelievable quality despite being sung for a fictional character, combined with the actor’s piercing, soulful stare, really put it through the roof. H.H. is an example of something from this film that doesn’t have specific basis in the source material — something that simply evolved from Hensleigh and Jane’s collective desire to draw from the spirit, thematic, and reality of the world that character occupied.

    This is a brilliant film, and a brilliant rendition of The Punisher. I really hope the gargantuan failure of War Zone shows the studios that an effects extravaganza ala Die-Hard-meets-Saw is the absolute wrong direction for this franchise, and I really hope to see Hensleigh and Jane return for a third film that takes things back where they belong. The continuity is an utter mess right now, but I can’t think of any Punisher fans more qualified to revitalize things.

    The Punisher should not be a summer blockbuster franchise. It should be what the first film laid such good foundations for — a series of insightful tales of violence and struggle and torment, quiet hits at the box office that earn a respectable profit and finds a real niche audience. War Zone truly proves that the uberHollywood route just doesn’t work, from a financial perspective and a quality control perspective.

  18. PiercedDiva
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    What song is played in the end credits?

    It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there,and I’m wearing Milk-bone underwear

  19. k_mcsheehy
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    *Warning – As I’m essentially giving reviews on the 3 Punisher films there will be spoiler elements to what I’m writing so be warned if you haven’t watched one or more. Also be prepared for a bit of a read (several Word pages really).

    Looking at much of the bitter and at many times petty back and forth over the Punisher films I have felt somewhat compelled to throw out a much more comprehensive write up of my own feelings in regards to the 3 films.

    To head off any garbage about whether or not I’ve read the comics or if I’m a real fan of the character… whatever the hell a real fan is… I’ll give you all a quick (well maybe not that quick) overview of my history with the Punisher.

    I started reading the comics back in 1989 when I was nine years old (creepy, huh?). I’ve busted my ass to read as much of the material from before 1989 as well as a good majority of it since (even though I was never able to actual purchase much of it). Currently I own the first 30 issues of the old War Journal series and the first 16 of the old War Zone series. I also have issue #1 of vol. 2 (come on, any fan has to at least have that one if they can) along with the first 2 summer specials that were done in the 90’s. I’ve been trying to collect more, but I also have other hobbies that help to keep me strapped for funds at times.

    Now understand this is just what I own, not what I’ve read (as to more current stuff I’ve read a good chunk of the Marvel Knights runs as well as several of the MAX imprint stories).

    When I have the ability to I want to get a hold of the whole Vol. 1 mini-series as well as the Year One and Born mini-series. If I can manage I’d also love to get a hold of any of the other comics which covered the character’s origin, for example the Marvel Preview that first fleshed out his full origin (however I don’t want the one that made Frank the agent of the devil or some such crap nor the stupid 2099 stuff).

    My favorite writers are Carl Potts and Steven Grant followed closely by Mike Baron and Garth Ennis (only because of the MAX series)… Chuck Dixon falls a bit later (even after some who only did a couple issues or so here and there like Dan Abnett).

    I’m not sure who my favorite artist is, but I can say I never liked how John Romita Jr. drew the character. His art always made the Punisher look like a big dumb ape rather than a lean and hardened soldier.

    Now the action of the comics stopped being a selling point when I was about 13 or 14. About then I became much more interested in the how’s and why’s of the stories (which is one of the reasons I’m not that big of a fan of Chuck Dixon’s work… especially the stuff after 1993… the character became too much of a one-dimensional monster at times that you couldn’t get behind him, though he did good with the Year One series). To me there is depth to the Punisher; you just have to look past the violence to see it (which is not easy for many people, especially those who only care about the violence and not why it is taking place).

    All that being said here are my takes on the films:

    The Punisher (1989): 5/10

    Oddly enough the same year I started reading them even though I didn’t see the film until I rented it I think around 1992 or so.

    The first time I saw it I thought it was okay (not good, but okay). No real better or worse than most other action films of the time (especially the lower budget ones).

    However of all the films it in a way had the least excuse for its deviations from the comic. In 1989 you actually could have believed in Dolph Lundgren possibly being a Vietnam veteran (a little young, but he could have pulled it off especially if you had him as entering the war towards it’s end in the 70’s). Instead we ended up with the biggest deviation of all the films in the character of Frank Castle never having been a soldier. Instead he’s only a New York cop (one who everything is going fine and likes his job until his family is killed).

    That one change causes viewers to miss out on one of the most important elements of the comic book Frank, and that is the brutal nature of his past and how much he wanted to get away from all the violence and bloodshed.

    Also the death of his family is even more personal than either of the other films, as he and his family are specifically targeted by one of the mob bosses he helped arrest.

    Now Dolph did look just fine as the Punisher, but missing the iconic skull kind of killed that some as well (for me at least).

    The acting in the overall film was what I would call hit and miss. Lou Gossett Jr. and Jeroen Krabbe were the better performances from the entire cast. Dolph did okay, but it wasn’t really that good. You are giving a decent sense of how much the loss of his family haunts him though, which was a plus to the film (granted kneeling naked in the sewers did not help any and in a way detracted from the positive parts).

    The action was decent, but it was also you’re usual 80’s and 90’s fare of rather unbelievable action as well. That kind of action is fun at times, but not enough to really save the movie in my eyes.

    Nonetheless this film had a rather good story line and concept that played out rather well with Frank’s war against the mob accidentally putting the kids of the mobsters at jeopardy with the newly arriving Yakuza.

    Frank rides in to rescue the kids, but the main mob boss’s kid gets recaptured in the process. What I liked about how that played out was that in the end the Punisher really wasn’t just outright forgiven for his actions. The kid Tommy doesn’t exactly forgive Frank for killing his father (even though he rescued him), but at the same time he can’t bring himself to kill Frank for it. Part of it was forgiveness, but part of it also was that Tommy was better than both his father and Frank. He was a good enough kid that he couldn’t just simply decent into the same world of violence that the other two lived in.

    To me that was the absolute best part of the entire film, and it was still in line with how the character has behaved in the comics (Frank doesn’t want people taking the same path, because he knows what it will do to them in the end).

    The Punisher (2004): 7/10 (theatrical), 8/10 (extended cut)

    I saw this one in the theater (twice) when it came out. I really enjoyed this movie as it embraced much what I had come to enjoy the most about the Punisher and to me at least did a rather decent job.

    So far this is the best overall Punisher movie in my opinion even with its deviations from the original comic story. I felt that this one at least kept the spirit (or the spirit I cared about most) of the character even if it didn’t keep the exact details.

    Once more Frank was a soldier, just instead of Vietnam he is a Gulf War veteran. Also the comment on the 12 special ops outside of the Gulf War helps to extend his military resume. He may be an undercover FBI agent when the audience is introduced to him, but the people making this one did at least put the effort to mention his military past. I think the addition of the special ops helped as Vietnam and the Gulf War were two very different situations with Vietnam being the far harsher and psychologically scar inducing of the two. Adding in the special ops as well as making Frank an undercover agent helps to increase the violence of his past life (even though we as viewers don’t get to see it).

    Frank is also once more a man looking to get away from his violent and rather dark past to spend time with his family only to have all that brutally torn away from him.

    Now just like the ’89 film this one also alters the origin. Unlike the previous film however, the origin is not just a simple flashback, but a driving force of the entire movie. This is the only movie to focus on Frank’s journey to becoming the Punisher (the other two films jump right into his life many years down the road and show his family’s death only in flashbacks).

    Also like the previous film the origin is altered in a way that made it a bit more personal. Frank and his family are specifically targeted by the money laundering mob boss Howard Saint. However Frank wasn’t exactly responsible for the death of Saint’s son. There is still an element of Frank not being directly responsible for his family’s death (though it is not the same as his family being killed for stumbling on a mob hit).

    Now to some people this alteration is a major downside. To me however I felt the alteration was well done and still managed to capture the same level of brutality and torment to the character (if not up it a notch as well). Once more it kept the spirit of Frank’s creation even though it didn’t have the same details.

    It does take place in Tampa, FL instead of New York. Personally I don’t see this as some major fault (even though many people do). Hell out of all the films it’s the only one where the majority of the film actually takes place where it is filmed.

    The ’89 movie was filmed in Australia and War Zone was filmed in Canada. Neither one really looked like New York (though Australia did better a better job of it than Canada).

    At the same time in this film it’s not clear where Frank is from originally. His son talks about moving to California and then to Virginia and the family is in preparations to move to London. The movie never once has him as actually living in Florida and never tells you where he came from originally (even the family vacation home in Puerto Rico is just that, a vacation home).

    Tom Jane has been the best all around Punisher so far. He embodied both the emotionally broken man and the brutal killer rather well (at the same time no less). I felt that Jane’s performance and the style of the filming did a good job showing how much Frank was hurting from his loss. The brutal killer only really comes out the best in the end of the film when Frank makes his final attack on Howard Saint.

    I also like that they focused more on the tactical Frank over the brute force Frank (once more one of the things I disliked out of much of Dixon’s work – Frank was more of a big brute than anything else).

    The overall acting was rather good, obviously not Oscar worthy or anything like that, but it was still rather solid all around. Even Travolta was okay as the main villain (in fact it was quite fun watching his character break down as Frank was tearing his world apart).

    I personally love the style of the whole film, but then I’ve always been a fan of films like Dirty Harry, Death Wish, and Mad Max.

    I really enjoyed the way they had Frank dismantle Saint’s whole life and world before finally killing him. It felt like something the comic Frank could/would do. Hell he’s done similar stuff in the comics (stealing from one group and blame the other, etc.)

    Most of all I liked that the story was the focus and the action was there to aid the story. I also felt that the Jimmy Weeks subplot added back into the extended cut of the film really improved the overall story (especially the overall flow of the film). It really added to the whole messed up nature of Frank’s journey to becoming the Punisher.

    Also the animated opening does a good job in showing the harshness of Frank’s past in the military (one of the key elements that make the Punisher).

    The Punisher: War Zone: 3/10

    To a certain extent I hate to put this as being the worse overall Punisher film because there were things the people making this got right. But everything that was done wrong completely overshadowed the few things they did right.

    Now just like with the 2004 film, I saw this one in the theatre. Unlike the previous film once was more than enough for me. Actually I almost wish I had waited and seen it on DVD instead.

    First off out of all the films this is the only one to basically have Frank’s comic book origin actually in the film, most importantly that of the murder of his family in Central Park. The scene itself is one of the few highlights of the entire movie and is rather well done. It’s one of the only points which you feel sorry for Frank, which was a plus for this film in my book.

    Like the 2004 film this one also mention’s Frank’s military past, though you’re not given the same feeling of Frank’s need to escape from the brutal life he lead. But then like the 1989 film this one takes place many years after Frank loses his family. So his origin is only shown in a rather short flashback.

    Ray Stevenson did what I think is the second best job at portraying Frank Castle, though part of that is because of the overall film is crap more than anything else. My problem comes more from the feeling that his version of Frank felt completely out of place for the rest of the film. He seemed to be doing his best to embrace the MAX imprint Frank Castle while the rest of the film went with the running gag that was the Marvel Knights run of the comics.

    Appearance wise however I wish they could have at least put him in better looking body armor. It was painfully obvious at times that what they had Stevenson wearing was a poor replica of actual stuff out there. They could have done a much better job on that.

    The film itself felt… schizophrenic in a way. One minute you had a dark and very serious Frank the next you had bizarre and slapstick like villains. The whole movie was disjointed as if it was nothing more than a series of action sequences tied loosely together with a rather poor story. And poor it was. Unlike the 1989 film this movie’s story played out horribly with a very hard to swallow ending.

    To make it worse the action scenes were really nothing to write home about (other than to say “stay away from this mess”). Just like with the whole move the action itself was kind of schizophrenic. One minute you’re getting rather realistic action then the next stupidly fake action that at times made even the campiest of the comics look tame and realistic. The action scenes felt like they belonged in a video game more than anything else, which for me just doesn’t do it for a movie anymore. I grew out of this type of action a long, long time ago. Sadly enough I prefer the way the action was done in the 1989 film over how it was done in War Zone.

    Outside of Stevenson most of the rest of the acting was just horrible and in many cases unnecessarily over the top. I could not even remotely stand Dominic West as Jigsaw.

    Actually there was another problem with the movie. Many of the characters pulled from the comics were horribly misused. And what the hell was wrong with keeping Jigsaw’s creation being him throw face first through a window. Did we really need the horribly unrealistic creation with a giant glass crush that should have killed him outright? All the villains were complete wastes in my opinion. Pittsy, Ink, Maginty, Bulat, and many others all of them either horribly changed (roof top free-jumpers I’m looking at you) or little more than throw away characters.

    Even Microchip was misused and wasted. They never did enough with him, you never got a good feeling of the relationship between him and Castle, and then kill him off in the end. What the hell was point of having the character in the movie at all?

    And for the love of all that is good and holy why have Soap? The character in the comics is little more than a running joke as it is. His character doesn’t help the movie any and in fact only adds to its overall juvenile stupidity.

    Now the final part that makes it so hard for me to even care about this film at all is that it was done by a person who believes sanctimonious BS about not wanting to make a movie that would cause angry teens to shoot people. What the hell?! I mean if you actually believe that crap then what the hell are you doing making a Punisher film… or any vigilante film for that matter? Alexander chose to focus on making it a running gory joke, and that is really all the film is; a sad and pathetic gory joke. It’s not a homage to the Punisher but more of an insult to it.

    So overall summary:

    The Punisher (1989) – it was if anything a product of its time more than anything else. There was some good stuff, but there was more bad stuff. It was okay, but still not that good of a Punisher film.

    The Punisher (2004) – alterations to the origin aside the people working on this embraced, what to me, was some of the best aspects about the character and gave a nicely done portrayal of his creation. They tried not to focus on just one aspect of Frank, but instead aimed at creating a well rounded character. Some say they failed. I’m one of those who say they succeeded.

    The Punisher: War Zone – though it tried to be the truest to the comics it also made the biggest mockery of the character. It went for leaving Frank as a one-dimensional killer and an overall joke. Not the best approach at all.

    Thanks for reading… if you were crazy enough that is.

    I’m sure there is more I could have written (things I missed commenting on and whatnot)… but I think what I have here is more than enough for now.

    Comments are… well to tell the truth I’m not sure if I care if you comment or not. I got what I needed to say off my chest and I feel better for it. But hey, if you want to comment go ahead (venting is good for your blood pressure).

    "Define ‘interesting’"

    "Oh god, oh god, we’re all gonna die."

    – Serenity

  20. Tiecuando
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    There were some sick people in that movie. I think having people like that in a Punisher movie would work. If they made a sequel to this, this is what I would have wanted to see.

  21. grady-allstar
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    Agree/Disagree?

    "It’s all fun and games until I punch you in the face!"

  22. Jokke-2
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    Many people have said that the ’04 Punisher felt like a "superhero" movie without the comic book feeling. War Zone apparently was to fix that mistake. Sure, it has many similarities in the spirit of the comic books, but the fact is that the reason lies there why War Zone actually didn’t do well.

    Usually the critics don’t know *beep* about the movies, they just try to justify why a movie was made. If they don’t find any good reasons, it’s one out of five stars for sure. Roger Ebert wrote in his review about War Zone: "The Punisher: War Zone" is one of the best-made bad movies I’ve seen. It looks great, it hurtles through its paces and is well-acted. The soundtrack is like elevator music if the elevator were in a death plunge. The special effects are state of the art. Its only flaw is that it’s disgusting."

    This time I do agree with Ebert. The action shots were done well, it has its own style…it surely has different overall feeling in comparison to ’04 movie. But to me, the movie feels very shallow. It’s very hard to identify with the characters seen in the movie. It feels the movie was made only to satisfy the fans looking a comic book movie about The Punisher, something they didn’t find when viewing the ’04 movie. The only good things about War Zone, were Ray Winstone’s performance and the action shots. Jiggsaw felt far too cheesy, same could be said about the rest of the bad guys.

    I do admit, that it’s a matter of opinion, on which movie you like more. To me, Thomas Jane will always be my choice as The Punisher. This movie also has more of an objective side in it, something which will make it easier to see to majority of movie lovers. I really don’t care about the fact, that this one didn’t have the comic book feeling in it. It still had The Punisher, the bad guys, the action, drama, very nice soundtrack etc. All wrapped to a nice piece of a movie. I’ll give this movie "two thumbs up".

    You want to see a comic-book movie done right? Watch Ang Lee’s "Hulk" (2003). That is one of the most underrated comic book movies out there. Many people didn’t like it because it was too psychological. But to me, the psychological side was the fuel, Hulk was the engine, and the comic book style seen in "Hulk" was the nail in the coffin for this movie to be the must-see-movie to the comic book fans.

    Punisher 3, if it will ever be made, should be something between the ’04 and War Zone with Thomas Jane in the lead. What I’ve read, Jane still has interest towards the character of "Punisher" and would like to see it made right. I’ve read Punisher Max comics lately, and I’ve been thinking about the possible third part of the movie. The comics do have lots of good material, and the style, which should be captured to the screens. War Zone tried too hard and that’s why it failed. The part III should have the psychological side, drama, action and the character development shown like in the Max series. Am I asking too much? Is War Zone the best they can do? I don’t think so.

  23. Anonymous
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  24. GrantZilla
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    They know nothing of The Punisher if they think that trash was the best Punisher movie.

    They complain about stuff in this movie that was taken directly from the comics.

    "If War Zone Punisher fought The Russian, he’d have kicked his ass, and not gotten beat up"

    WTF We all know that scene was taken directly from Ennis’ Welcome Back Frank, and Castel did get manhandled.

    They cry that Jane’s Punisher was a sissy and drank because his family got killed. That’s called character development.

    They’re too stupid to realize that generic one-demntional Punisher got old so fast his series got cancelled and was only used for Team-up comics with a character that could keep readers interested.

  25. kevdor
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    This is simply the best Punisher movie out there, and the ending clearly indicates that their would be a sequel, but 5 years and still nothing, and I dont think that the garbage that is War Zone counts…

    But no, make room for endless remakes of Superhero movies, or Rambo 4, Indiana Jones 4, etc etc… WE WANT A PUNISHER SEQUEL!

    ——————

    I see dumb people everywhere, and sometimes, they don’t even know they’re dumb!

  26. OzBuckBear
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    Maybe I’m just looking for it, but there were bits of man-love floating all through the film. Just hints here and there that Punisher might have been the only straight man in the film, and even then wavering a bit.

  27. Kclanning
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    If there were ever to be another Punisher movie, who do you think should be the Punisher? Should it be one of the three past actors. 1) Ray Stevenson? 2) Thomas Jane? 3) Dolph Lundgren? 4) a new actor?

  28. rayonmullings
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    check out my article on Comicbookmovie.com call "Stan Lee is a Liar

    and a phony." i’m sure yall are going to enjoy it… it expose how

    he’s been using and exploiting us.

    Reply

  29. delfonic-2
    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/themovie/public_html/wp-content/themes/feed-me-seymour/functions.php on line 694

    and only now just remembered that I did. Says a lot, dont you think?

  30. nickatron
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    how did those 2 losers manage to take any kind of torture? particularly from ‘professional thugs’…

  31. Anonymous
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  32. dnljack01-1
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    Columbia should buy the rights to Punisher and make him be in an upcoming Spider-Man movie. That way he’ll be more of a sucess since more people apparently will go see Spider-Man than Punisher. Then after introducing him in the Spider-Man movie the public will be more interested in seeing a Punisher movie. Problem is I don’t know if Raimi will like Punisher. He may end up doing to Punisher what he did to Venom.

    Slimer! That was my clean uniform!" Winston Real Ghostbusters Episode Lost and foundry

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