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The Punisher (2004)

Cast: Thomas Jane, Thomas Jane, John Travolta, more...
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh, Jonathan Hensleigh
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Lions Gate
Genre: Action, Comic Books, Superheroes, Marvel, Quest, Revenge
Running Time: 123 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

An ordinary lawman goes outside the law to carry out his own brand of justice in this dark-themed thriller. Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) is an FBI agent who deeply loves his wife and son, but is also strongly devoted to his work. Castle's investigation of a powerful crime cartel leads to a gunfight which claims the life of a young boy, whose father is underworld kingpin Howard Saint (John Travolta). Furious and eager for revenge, Saint arranges for Castle and his family to be murdered in retaliation. However, while Castle's wife and son are killed, he somehow survives, even though he's believed to have perished. Bent on stopping Saint once and for all, Castle remakes himself as The Punisher, a ruthless and heavily armed killing machine who will not rest until Saint and his crew have been wiped clean from the Earth. Based on a Marvel Comics character first introduced in 1974, The Punisher also stars Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Laura Elena Harring, Roy Scheider, and Kevin "Big Sexy" Nash. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Worse than the first Punisher movie! by dvdemon March 10, 2005 - 9:03 AM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
This movie is a total bastardization of the Punisher character, and it's terrible even apart from its intended homage. I could not believe Thomas Jane was cast as the Punisher. That's even worse than Keanu Reeves as Constantine (see the Hellblazer comics). Jane is weak, unconvincing, and he doesn't look like the Punisher. The movie was almost a parody of Hollywood vigilantes. Having read Garth Ennis' Punisher comics, this movie was AGONIZING to watch, and I had to laugh a few times.

The "writers" took obscene liberties with every detail of Frank Castle and his origin. Here, he has no daughter. His Vietnam history is gone, replaced with an undercover law enforcement job. (If you don't think it matters, read "Born" by Garth Ennis.) Even the death of his family was wrong. In this version, they are targeted by some maggot with a personal grudge. In the original story, they were just bystanders caught in a crossfire--the whole point was that they died just for being alive in a world where the strong crush the innocent (and then go unpunished). Frank Castle was not a hero who put on the skull to get even with one guy. He did not turn to alcohol to drown his sorrows; only killing could do that. Frank Castle was submerged by the walking Death called the Punisher, limited only by a few remaining shreds of moral discrimination. This movie grasped at that concept in futility--it was in the script, but not in the story, if you know what I mean. (Read "Punisher: Year One" by Dan Abnett.)

The soundtrack was mostly alternative posers and cheesy melodramatic scores. Some of the "supporting" characters included were throwaways Garth Ennis had used far more effectively in his comics, and the villains of the movie were boring and one-dimensional. The story was flat and the ending was clownishly Hollywood. Finally, the body count was too low for this to qualify as a Punisher movie.

No wonder when I hear the word "sequel" I reach for my Glock.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.72)
110 Votes
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Thomas Jane can punish me anyday.
He's the Punisher, you see. Ah, forget it. A list of movies in which he stars/appears. Because he's hot. It's that simple.
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