gaming since 1997

Punisher, The

Frank Castle (Jane) is an undercover FBI agent. After completing his last job where the son of crime lord Howard Saint (Travolta) got killed, he leaves with his family to Puerto Rico to celebrate his retirement. However, Saint finds out that Castle was an undercover agent and decides to send a team to kill both him and his family as revenge. Although he got shot multiple times, Castle manages to stay alive and once he’s back on his feet, he returns to Tampa to get even with the men that tried killed his family.

Sound and Vision:
Columbia delivers again nicely. Perfect image quality without compression errors, good contrast, nice colors and no problems what so ever with the dark scenes. Good stuff as we’re used from Columbia’s bigger titles.

The same can be said about the soundtrack which nicely puts you in the center of the action with good surround effects and nice explosions that are supported with the necessary bass coming from the subwoofer.

Extras:
– Audio Commentary with Director Jonathan Hensleigh
– Deleted Scenes
– Keeping it Real: Punisher Stunts: A behind the scenes feature that gives some insight on how the major stunts of the movie were created including multi-angle shots of the action. A very informative feature on old-school filmmaking as there’s no CGI in the film.
– War Journal: On the set of The Punisher: A 30 minute feature that can be seen as a “Making Of” as script, storyboarding, casting, location shooting, fight and stunt work aswell as set design all get explained while even the editing and movie premiere get shown. Not the usual Hollywood propaganda feature so definitely worth checking out.
– Music Video ‘Step up’ by Drowning Pool

Conclusion:
In 1989 the first Punisher movie saw the screen with Dolph Lundgren in the leading role. While that movie had a dark and grim atmosphere, I personally didn’t really find Lundgren to be the right man for the part. This time, Thomas Jane gets his chance to portray one of the darkest Marvel characters and again there are some problems. Although Jane does a decent job (unlike Lundgren), the script is pretty lame and the setting completely wrong. The Punisher has a big leather jacket but seeing him running around with it in Florida where it’s hotter than hell makes it look a bit ridiculous.

The characters are all rather one-dimensional and meanwhile The Punisher gets pushed in a love story and teamed up with some sidekicks. Of course, I haven’t read all the Punisher comic books but I did read a whole bunch of specials and Spider-Man comics where he made an appearance and I’ve never seen him working together with anyone or in something that even mildly can be seen as some sort of relationship. For me (and I guess also for a lot of the fans), The Punisher is a one-man killing machine who takes down all the bad guys as fast as possible without any remorse and that’s something that lacks a bit in this movie. The director is struggling with how he wants to portray The Punisher and that clearly shows in the movie. On one side there’s the killing machine and on the other there’s the “guy that cares” but the director never succeeds in bringing those two things completely together making you feel like you’re watching two completely different characters…

Travolta gets to play the evil villain, a role he does nicely as we know from other movies, but again the lack of a decent script prevents him from giving this movie the ultimate bad guy it needs. While Travolta himself still has some lines that can remotely be seen as somewhat decent, the rest of the cast that needs to play the bad guys seem to be robots… and it’s not the result of their incapability to act decently that causes this.

On the technical side we can easily say that Columbia has done a terrific job and also the extras are quite decent. If only the movie was of the same quality. I suggest you first rent it before deciding whether or not to buy The Punisher.

Our Score:
6.0

posted in: DVD, Reviews, Sony Pictures
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