Lightning Review: The Punisher

Review #100

This review was originally posted by Flashback/Backslide as part of his Marvel Blogathon.

The Punisher movie posterSynopsis
Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) sets out to destroy Howard Saint (John Travolta) and his criminal empire after he murders Castle’s entire family and leaves him for dead.

One of my favorite things about The Punisher is that it feels like a comic book movie. Before Marvel’s Iron Man, it can be difficult to distinguish comic book movies from other action films if you don’t know beforehand. But this movie takes note from it’s comic origins and weaves a tale that is entertaining from start to finish. The fight scenes are over the top, but just slightly. Some of the sequences never feel like couldn’t not happen, but are comic-y enough to know that they actually couldn’t (if that makes sense). Thomas Jane is great as the stoic, unflinching Frank Castle. This was one of the first movies I remember watching where John Travolta was the villain. I like him here, but he’s not quite on the same level in his Ryder in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 a few years later. In the comics, Frank Castle is a great tactician and Lionsgate did well to transition that aspect of him onto the big screen, the way he systematically took apart Saint and his family. The Punisher is a greatly underrated film, combining comic action with humor to create the perfect blend. If you haven’t seen it or watched it in a while or even if you have, you owe it to yourself to check this one out again. Thomas Jane obviously like the character since he made the (graphic) short “Dirty Laundry” based on his version of the Punisher.



Cast & Crew
Jonathan Hensleigh – Director / Writer
Michael Franch – Writer
Carlo Siliotto – Composer

Thomas Jane – Frank Castle / The Punisher
John Travolta – Howard Saint
Will Patton – Quenton Glass
Laura Harring – Livia Saint
Rebecca Romijn – Joan
Ben Foster – Spacker Dave
John Pinette – Bumbo
James Carpinello – Robert “Bobby” Saint / John Saint
Eddie Jemison – Mickey Duka
Russell Andrews – Agent James “Jimmy” Weeks
Roy Scheider – Frank Castle, Sr.
Samantha Mathis – Maria Elizabeth Castle