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The Punisher

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Punisher

Starring: Thomas Jane, John Travolta
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Rated: R
RunTime: gif Minutes
Release Date: April 2004
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy


*Also starring: A. Russell Andrews, James Carpinello, Nick Loren, Will Patton, John Pinette, Roy Scheider, Marco St. John, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Yamil Piedra



Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

After enduring all 124 long minutes of this ode to cruelty, you'll feel punished. THE PUNISHER -- yet another bad movie based on a comic book series -- stars DREAMCATCHER's Thomas Jane as Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher. This hard R-rated movie will have even veteran moviegoers squirming in their seats during some of the gruesome torture sequences. In our audience, a few of the most vocal members laughed the loudest when the level of sadism was the highest. THE PUNISHER is the directorial debut of Jonathan Hensleigh, a writer whose last two pictures were ARMAGEDDON and THE SAINT. The script by THE PUNISHER is by Hensleigh and Michael France, one of the three writers for THE HULK.

Frank is a comic book hero without superpowers but with luck and abilities that would make James Bond jealous. But, unlike Bond, Frank isn't interested in cars or girls, only in revenge, oops, I mean punishment. After he kills a son of mob boss Howard Saint (John Travolta), Saint's wife, Livia (Laura Harring), demands that Frank's entire family, meaning every man, woman and child in his large extended family be slaughtered. The massacre occurs at a big family gathering of several dozen Castles with only Frank surviving, just barely.

The movie lumbers along between scenes of intense gore. The acting is wooden with Jane playing a by-the-numbers action hero. His attempt, however, easily outshines Ben Affleck's work in DAREDEVIL, another bad movie based on a comic book. Are there any original story ideas left in Hollywood? Travolta merely replays his part from SWORDFISH.

THE PUNISHER clearly wants to be taken as something of a PULP FICTION-type of action comedy. Every once in a while, the dialog does get a little snappy. "Go with God," one of Frank's friends tells him as Frank leaves to create his personal wave of death and destruction. "God is going to sit this one out," Frank replies. I'd advise sitting this one out too. THE PUNISHER is a mean-spirited movie that doesn't deserve the big office it will undoubtedly draw.

THE PUNISHER runs a long 2:04. It is rated R for "pervasive brutal violence, language and brief nudity" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

My son Jeffrey, almost 15, gave it ****, saying that Frank was a great, badass action hero. He liked the way that the character was so different and that the movie concentrated on the action rather the romance, which never happened. He especially liked all of the weapons.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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