Punisher (2004)

But I got what made the Punisher popular. His Old Testament morality was simple and easy to digest. He believed in “an eye for an eye” without any exceptions or qualifications. He did what you want to do when someone cuts you off in the street. And to the movie’s credit, they don’t soften up the character to get a PG-13 rating.

(I know it’s a 14 year old movie but SPOILER ALERT)

The plot is pretty simple. “It’s not revenge, it’s punishment.” Howard Saint, the big baddy, blames Frank Castle for the death of his son. As payback, Howie mows down Castle’s family. This slaughter naturally consumes Castle and he decides to punish the killers, laws and morality be damned.

The players did a decent, if not electrifying, job.

John Travolta, whose last decent movie was Basic and last good movie was Get Shorty, totally phoned his performance in for this movie. He was vanilla. There was nothing special to his interpretation of Howard Saint. I can’t remember one catch phrase or particularly inventive act of cruelty.

Thomas Jane is a decent actor. I liked him in Deep Blue Sea as the “shark handler” with a past but that’s just a great cheesy movie period. His performance was not the problem in the ass boil called Dreamcatcher. I didn’t like it when I heard he got the nod to be the Punisher. I thought it should have been Henry Rollins. Who on earth would make a better Punisher than the front man for Black Flag. Jane didn’t embarrass himself but there were moments where he was trying to look “mean” or “serious” when I just wanted to laugh. Thomas Jane’s pretty boy face does not strike fear in my heart. And the Punisher needs to inflict fear.

Rebecca Romijn-Stamos was hot AF in this movie. She wasn’t naked but her wearing a tank top is sexier than most women naked. For my money, her tank top and boxers look blows away any dressed to the nines red carpet celebrity.

The rest of the supporting characters were window dressing and really didn’t add much to the movie. The two assassins sent to kill Castle were bizarre: one was a Johnny Cash rip off and the other was a Russian that looked like a video game character. Both of them seemed out of place in Castle’s dark, grimy world.

First time director Jonathan Hensleigh does a decent helming job. The gunplay and fist play episodes are spaced out pretty well. There aren’t long lulls between the shitkicking. And the dialogue isn’t sappy or ponderous for the most part.

Overall, it’s a lot of explosions and decent fights. If you like action movies, this won’t hurt too bad.

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