*** Official THE PUNISHER Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Punisher". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    As a comedy, this film works, otherwise, it's a cardboard 2-dimensional mess.

    The only scenes that were somewhat entertaining dealt with the Punisher's neighbors, and the fiery finale.

    I give it 1.5 stars, or a grade of D+.
  3. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Jun 21, 2000
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    This is a very uneven film that takes way too long to get off of the ground. It's hard to figure out if the film-makers were simply trying to make the first setup film in a series of sequels, or just sucked. Jane is pretty good as Frank Castle, and there's a good deal of solid action...but for the most part, humor is chosen over suspense. The supporting stuff from Stamos and Ben Foster was pretty solid, but the writing was atrocious. Travolta was adequate at times, and very suck-tastic at others.

    Overall, the bad far outweighs the good.

  4. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Jan 23, 2000
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    Some minor spoilers ahead that I don't think I can avoid when talking about this film.

    What a confused movie this is. Part of it is a brutal revenge flick, with serious intentions and solid motivations. Then there is an action-comedy, the kind Schwarzeneggar would have made in the '80s. Unfortunately, the two formulas mix about as well as Pepto-Bismol with Wild Turkey.

    The movie opens with 'stock undercover sequence' to introduce the character. A silly, silly shootout lands Frank Castle in trouble with shadowy bad banker Howard Saint. Mess with Saint's bizarrely ethnic family and your own family has to go down.

    The sequence that follows is actually quite good. The retired family life seems well established with a fetching wife and good kid. After an awkward gift giving of the signature T-shirt, where I was really expecting Frank to mouth 'what the f***" to his wife after seeing it, the family reunion begins. In this version of the film, the bad guys decide to strike not only his family, but his extended family as well. The action that follows is both brutal and effective, although there is the general avoidance of showing violence against children with one notable exception. Shades of Mad Max punctuate the film and then Castle is sent off ala Darkman. This also features a very good car stunt sequence and generally good gunplay. It establishes a very dark tone for the overall film, which I welcomed openly.

    Then the comedy starts...

    The film starts to introduce the most laughable things I've seen in a long time in very short order. Frank, who has secretly been not-dead for some number of days or weeks (he heals like an action hero is supposed to), effectively holds a press conference to declare himself alive. From there, the bad guys try desperately to find him, but they can't. It isn't that Frank is hiding, they just don't seem to even be trying. Then, as the plot desires, they can find Frank anywhere - at a diner, his home, I'm fairly sure they would have gotten him during his frequent trips to the convenience store for more whiskey. And of course, his neighbors know all about him.

    Ahhh, his neighbors. Frank drew the 'wacky neighbor' lottery grand prize, effectively shutting down Seinfeld as the reigning champ. We've got a strangely attached pretty neighbor, the slightly developmentally impaired fat cooking neighbor, and the unbelievably loyal game playing piercing freak. In an apparent deleted scene they sign a blood oath to Frank and would be willing to take a bullet, donate a kidney, and even take him to the airport for a 5am flight.

    Frank's 'plan' to get his justice includes such brilliant maneuvers as 'walk into the bad guys building', 'walk over to the bad guys money laundering operation', and 'walk into the bad guys house'. Frank, who A-teams his car and apartment with some unknown source of funds and an inexplicable 'storage garage of death and destruction' (which is strange because they pointedly show him stealing money later in the movie) largely relies on some really low-rent version of the Count of Monte Christo to exact revenge on the people that really matter. While it may make for some nice glib punchline later, it sort of cheats the audience out of the revenge-flick satisfaction that I would have thought was the goal of the movie.

    Of course Frank's whole plan would never have been initiated if he hadn't met Mickey, who was the twitchy technician in Ocean's 11. Mickey, who I like to call Joe Exposition, is officially 'The Most Knowledgeable Informant In History'. This man knows every single thing about everything. He knows names, he knows places, he knows dates. He knows the exact times of peoples activities. He is also an inside man and a willing agent of Caste. He provides the most detailed exposition and task list ever, beating out the previous reigning champs The Oracle and the Keymaker from THe Matrix Reloaded.

    Now, the film has some very good highpoints. The action sequences, some better suited in a different film, are often pretty good. There is enough variety in the killing to not begin to get restless or overly repetitive. The opening massacre is also very well done, without any of the humor that mars the next act. Thomas Jane is a nice choice for Castle, although I have to say his attempts to show awkward response to affection from his neighbor as...awkward (as in I don't think he or the direction had a clear idea on how to tackle the scene). Will Patton is nicely evil as the sadistic henchman who you really want to see Frank kill.

    The bad includes Travolta, who handicaps this movie more than any other in recent memory. He is simply a terrible choice for the role, having lost any of the nice menace that a role like this should have. He mostly just had tantrums and empty threats to nobody, as well as the most bizarre embrace of the person indirectly responsible for his son's death. I think he is the biggest liability, acting-wise, in the entire film.

    In the end, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of not knowing which was better - The original Punisher with Dolph lumbering around like a sleepy Rambo or this new interpretation. In the end, I'd give the edge to this one, if only for showing me a new way to put a knife in somebody's head.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four)
  5. Diallo B

    Diallo B Screenwriter

    Dec 18, 2002
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    as someone that used to read punisher comic books this movie was flat out terrible for all of the reasons mentioned in the above post. i found the interactions with the neighbors unimportant and the gaping wide wounds of plot holes intolerable.

    the main problem if found with this movie was that it tried to hard to be comical to balance the level of violence in the movie. imo, if you are going to do a punisher movie THEN DO IT. there was nothing humorous about the comic book, the punisher.

    i have never EVER left a movie (that i paid for) in the middle but after the fight with the ruskie i grabbed my girl and we left. i couldn't take anymore.

    this movie was awful and imo opinion just as bad as the first one. i never saw battlefield earth but if that was as terrible as this i never ever want to hear of either again.

    this movie ruined an otherwise great weekend for me. my frat bro. got married and kill bill was great. then i has to stroll in this crap. do not go see it.

    negative 4 out of 4
  6. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

    Feb 18, 2001
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    I agree with everything that has been mentioned above. I was really looking forward to a dark film and, apart from the family reunion bloodbath and the end-game, I was given that.

    The prologue was much too long - the drug bust was so silly. I've seen better on Miami Vice. The rest just doesn't know what it wants to be. At least the Dolph Lundgren Punisher flick, as terrible as it was, knew what it wanted to be and was that. By the third act, I was wistfully looking back at Dolph riding the motorcycle through the sewers. Where's Lou Gossett, Jr. when we need him?

    The end gunplay had a couple of good moments but the sad finale between the Punisher and Saint was lacking any kind of heat. And please, never show me that shot of the cars exploding to form the Punisher logo ever, ever again.

  7. Luis Cruz

    Luis Cruz Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 23, 1999
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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Well, first off, I have only read a few of the Punisher comic books. Was more into X-Men and Spider-Man than Punisher. With that said, I thought this movie was awesome. I mean, it was a fun popcorn flick. What more could you ask for? Now it might dissapoint the "Punisher" fans, but for the casual viewer I think it will be enjoyed. Thomas Jane was great as Frank Castle and I didn't have any problems with John Travolta. I thought the humor was just right and the action was great. As long as you don't have high expectations, I think, most will enjoy this movie.

    Hopefully there will be a sequel! Oh and it was great seeing another Florida city be featured in a film!

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