The Punisher

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Kat

Plot: What’s it about?

While some people that say that crime is a well paying gig, any criminal who has crossed paths with Frank Castle would tell you the reward isn’t worth the risk. If anyone hates crime more than anyone else, it has to be Frank Castle, who spends his days and nights stalking the streets as The Punisher, a vigilante who doesn’t just arrest criminals, he punishes them, to a severe degree. If this guy catches you in the middle of a criminal act, you’ll be lucky to escape alive, but you’re sure to find yourself on the business end of an ass whipping. So why does Castle have such a bitter hatred of crime and its pundits? Well, Castle lost his entire family in a car bomb explosion, which was setup by the thugs of a local mafia boss, and everyone thinks Castle died in the blast as well. Everyone but his ex partner (Louis Gossett, Jr.), who knows Castle is the man behind The Punisher. With the mafia head just released from prison, The Punisher is bound to take aim, but can this one man army finally take down the man he’s gunning for?

I must admit up front that I am a fan of all things The Punisher, including the comic books which chronicle his adventures. So, I could be a little biased as to this movie, since I am partial to Frank Castle and his exploits. Even so, I think those who crave action and gunplay will find enough to like here to warrant a rental or purchase, since this movie is loaded with bullets and fistfights. I will concede that the storyline is a little shaky, but do you really watch a movie like this for the plot? No, you watch The Punisher to view ass kicking and name taking, which this film delivers on both counts. This movie captures the dark edge of the comic quite well also, which means plenty of blacks and greys in the visuals. This is cool, since I would have been pissed if this wouldn’t have been so dark and brooding, but this version keeps the tone of the comic intact. This film certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an action buff like me, this is well worth the cost involved.

The director of The Punisher is Mark Goldblatt, who is better known for his work as an editor, on such films as Detroit Rock City, True Lies, Showgirls, The Terminator 1 & 2, Starship Troopers, and Armageddon. If you’ve seen this films, you’ll notice the use of quicker cuts, a little flashier than most films, and that’s the styling of Goldblatt. Dolph Lundgren plays the title role, and he is perfect for the part, both in looks and attitude. Lundgren (Storm Catcher, I Come In Peace) never went to the next level as an action performer, but I think his work is excellent, and this is a perfect role for him. If you like this film, make sure to look up other Lundgren films, you’re bound to find some goodies there. Louis Gossett, Jr. (Diggstown, The Highwayman), Nancy Everhard (Demonstone, Another 48 Hours), and Bryan Marshall (BMX Bandits, The Long Good Friday) all provide decent supporting performances. The supporting cast for this film also includes Barry Otto (Exile, Dead Letter Office), Kim Miyori (Metro, Loverboy), Jeroen Krabbe (Ever After, An Ideal Husband) and Brian Rooney (The Phantom Horseman).

Video: How does it look?

The Punisher is shown here in an anamorphic widescreen transfer, which is framed at the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This isn’t the finest looking transfer on the market, but this is by far the best this film has ever looked. The film uses a lot of darker tones, but the contrast holds it’s ground, with no problems at all I could find. Colors and flesh tones also look great, and aside from some grain, I didn’t notice any other issues either.

Audio: How does it sound?

While the packaging lists this disc as having a 2.0 surround track, I found only a mono track on the release. With a movie like this, filled with explosions and gunfire, a surround track would really open things up, but sadly, we’re stuck with this mono track. The overall sound is decent, but this material begs for a louder, more expansive mix, and this mono track just doesn’t cut the mustard. The dialogue is clear and well audible, but the effects just don’t fit well here, which sucks.

Supplements: What are the extras?

On this disc you will find talent files, production notes, and the theatrical trailer.

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