The Punisher (2004)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate Extended Cut)
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Overall Rating 65%
Overall Rating
Ranked #912
...out of 11,553 movies
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Connections: Marvel: The Punisher

Special agent Frank Castle had it all: A loving family, a great life, and an adventurous job. But when his life is taken away from him by a ruthless criminal and his associates, Frank has become reborn. Now serving as judge, jury, and executioner, he's a new kind of vigilante out to wage a one man war against those who have done him wrong. --IMDb
A. Russell Andrews
A. Russell Andrews
Omar Avila
Omar Avila
James Carpinello
James Carpinello
Mark Collie
Mark Collie
Russell Durham Comegys
Russell Durham Comegys
Review by Chad
Added: June 24, 2004
Frank Castle is an undercover cop who works in sting operations. Starting the movie out, he's in the process of busting some guys who are buying illegal firearms by posing as the seller. During the sting, one of the guys buying the firearms gets shot and killed. This was to be Castle's last assignment with the police, as he is now retiring and moving his family to London... but before all that, he's going to have a huge family reunion in Puerto Rico. However, it just happens to turn out that the guy who got killed in the sting operation was the son of Howard Saint, a big man in the crime world. Saint isn't too happy about what happened with his son, so he tracks Castle down and sends some of his boys to pay him and his family a visit. After watching his family die, Castle swears to punish all the people who were involved with this.

I actually enjoyed the first version of this movie, and when I wrote that review, it was indeed one of the best comic-to-movie adaptations I'd seen; however, I would have to say that this one works out better than that one did it some ways. Sure, there's a few things to gripe about with this one, but the overall package came out nicer in the end.

First up, the storyline. Instead of just starting the movie up and assuming everyone in the audience knows the Punisher legacy, this film explains what happened to him, and what caused him to do what he does. Instead of having Punisher getting involved with helping the guilty to save the innocent as in the original version, here we find him just doing what he does best; getting revenge on those who wronged him. Sure, there's the semi-subplot involving the trickery played on Saint (which was nicely written), but for the most part, it's a pretty linear story. It does lose some points in the originality department, but oddly enough, it comes out being a bit more entertaining. My only real problem with the actual storyline was the "comedic relief" family next door. I thought that the general idea was solid, and it did lead up to a nice scene... but the time spent on showing them doing their silly things could have been cut in (at least) half. I'm also not a huge fan of the hero dropping one-liners before killing somebody (only Ash can get away with that without sounding lame), but it wasn't as over-done here as it has been in previous movies of the sort, so it wasn't too much of a problem.

The body count wasn't nearly as high as in the original version, but most of the kills that were shown had more time spent on them. Instead of killing off huge groups of people with a machine gun in most scenes, there's a good number of original kills. Also, there's a great fight scene here with The Russian, which ended up getting five-ten minutes of time. Normally, a scene like this would get old in a movie of this type, but it was very nicely done here, and one of the better action movie fight scenes from this year.

Overall, another great movie set in The Punisher universe, and just a wee bit better than the original. It seemed like both films had things that brought the mood down, but the negative aspects found in one version would be fixed in the other. With that, I dub this an 8/10. Yes, that's the same rating as the original; even though this one is a bit more enjoyable overall, there was just too many little things to push this up into that elite perfect rating.
Kiddpepsi420 #1: Kiddpepsi420 - added 08/07/2004, 04:04 PM
In my opinion, I'm dissapointed with the fact that John Travolta diddnt get nearly enough screen-time.
For being the main bad-guy he really wasn't in the movie that much...
mebclowd09 #2: mebclowd09 - added 12/21/2005, 02:31 AM
yet another movie i could watch over and over again and never get sick of.
Griffinheart #3: Griffinheart - added 10/26/2007, 11:43 PM
It's been so long since I saw the older Punisher movie that I can't remember how good it was, but I do remember that that Punisher had class: kill everyone in a house and THEN blow it up. Classy.
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 12/08/2008, 08:59 PM
Not a fan. Though this wasn't the DISGUSTINGLY HORRIBLE level of humanization that Ang Lee went for with his god-awful "Hulk", it was still a clear sign that comic-book movies have no place in the hands of someone who can't respect the characters that they're trying to bring to life. Thomas Jane was a awful Punisher, as his constant moping and lack of action made him feel like an asshole out for revenge rather than a killer who felt his only true home was in the brutality of war, this made for a terrible cast on his character. Another big problem is Travolta as the cetral villain... wait... was he? Couldn't tell, as he was barely there. To me and my nerd-rage, the only things that made this movie enjoyable in the least were the Russian (Hey! Someone on the writing credit may have actual picked up an issue of the comic!) and alot of the later gunfights.

Truly, this did not feel like the Punisher... it felt l ike "Taxi Driver 2", and that irked me. It wasn't until the recent "Punisher: War Zone" that I truly realized how bad this one turned out for fans of the work. As a movie, it did alright, as a comic-book adaptation, it did downright horrible. A good film, but not good enough. 5.8/10
Bliss From A Dead Embrace #5: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added 01/30/2009, 01:57 AM
This movie was great. I'm not a huge follower of the comics so the story was fine in my eyes. Jane made a great leading character and everything just seemed to fall into place around him minus his neighbors.
Bliss From A Dead Embrace #6: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added 01/30/2009, 01:58 AM
Lucid Dreams #7: Lucid Dreams - added 05/25/2010, 01:33 AM
I have to agree with Ginose and I don't think they really read the Punisher comics very well. 6/10
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