The Punisher (2004)





Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Will Patton, Roy Scheider, Laura Harring, Ben Foster, Rebecca Romijn, John Pinette, Samantha Mathis, Marcus Johns, Russell Andrews, James Carpinello, Eddie Jemison, Eduardo Yáñez, Omar Avila, Kevin Nash, Mark Collie, Veryl Jones, Tom Nowicki, Hank Stone


On his final assignment, FBI agent Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) plays his undercover role perfectly, but the operation spins out of control and a young man, Bobby Saint (James Carpinello), is inadvertently killed. Holding Castle responsible for the death of his son, Howard Saint (John Travolta) butchers Frank's family during a reunion and leaves him for dead. But Castle survives and set out to avenge his family, becomes a judge, jury and executioner known as "The Punisher". 


*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a shock! As a fan of the Punisher I've been completely shocked by how bad they made this film. If Batman Begins is the perfect comic book character adaptation, The Punisher is the perfect example of what not to do, and how to ruin a character. 

Besides from being extremely violent - I won't complain about it since it's what someone would expect from a film about Frank Castle - the film is tedious, and so painful to watch I had to pause several times to recover from its awfulness.

The script is goddamn awful. First let's talk about the back story, shall we? In the comic book, Frank Castle, his wife, and his sons are having a walk in Central Park, New York, when they witness a Mafia settling of score. In the film, the son of a criminal gets killed, and when Castle is on vacation his whole family is murdered. What is the point in changing the story? We don't even get to know all those characters, so we don't feel anything for them when they die - which is actually what happened for Frank as well, since he doesn't look in much pain or suffering.
Two hours and they don't even explain how a criminal found all those information about an FBI agent. And why does he retire? He won't get any pension so he will have to find another job.
The Russian. He is basically a giant in a red and white shirt, who, like regular people, knocks on the door of the person he has to kill. Not to mention the fact that Frank doesn't even look out the peep-hole. 
I thought it was a film about the Punisher, but it turned out to be the Wolverine 2.0. Yes, the Wolverine, because bullets can't stop him, and when wounded, he heals real fast.
Also since when blackmailing someone because they're gay is cool? And what about the singing hitman from Memphis? The best hitman, a professional, sings Frank a song about his death, and the one who actually gets kills is the hitman himself.
And at last, the hot, lonely woman who falls in love with the guy at first sight, and the guy who goes through torture because Frank is part of the family, but they have barely talked.
Oops, I almost forgot the villain. He kills everyone, his wife, his best friend, Castle's whole family, but he fails at killing the only person he was supposed to kill.

The dialogue is terrible, the music is awful, and wasting two hours waiting for a thrilling action scene that will never happen is just not worth it. 

The acting is painful. They are all equally bad, delivering wooden performances a tree would be jealous of. John Travolta isn't convincing at all as the villain, and the only good acting that comes from him is in one of the latest scenes, when he dies.

1 comment :

  1. I liked The Punisher. While there were problems with Castle's origin they came from him getting healed by a Shaman. Were we supposed to assume that the Shaman gave him powers?
    The movie had it's goofy bits, but I feel they added to the fun of the movie. The fight with the Russian was a highlight for me. Just the absurdity with the music playing. I also liked the Johnny Cash fight. "You bought a knife to a gun fight."
    The Punisher's superpower, even in the comics, is just never dying. Even when he definitely should. The Punisher goes up against heroes and villains that outclass him every day. I think it is fair that he beat John Travolta through planning and hard work.

    It's cool. We have different opinions. Have you seen The Punisher: Dirty Laundry? It's just a short film released on YouTube. If you don't like the 2004 movie you probably won't like the short.

    Overall, there are a couple of grammatical errors you might want to fix up. You'll find them easily on a re-read. I liked reading your thoughts on the film.