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The Punisher (1989)

5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 14,117 users  
Reviews: 152 user | 73 critic

When Frank Castle's family is murdered by criminals, he wages war on crime as a vigilante assassin known only as the Punisher.

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Crime

A rising star detective with the New York Police Department moonlights as a vigilante hero dubbed The Punisher in order to obtain justice for those the system has failed.

Action

Special agent Frank Castle becomes a vigilante for justice.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Gianni Franco (as Jeroen Krabbe)
Kim Miyori ...
Bryan Marshall ...
...
...
Brian Rooney ...
Zoshka Mizak ...
Kenji Yamaki ...
Hirofumi Kanayama ...
Larry McCormick ...
Todd Boyce ...
...
Laccone (as Larney Tupu)
Gianfranco Negroponte ...
Musso (as John Negroponte)
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Storyline

Based on the Marvel Comic, Dolph Lundgren is Frank Castle an ex-cop who lives in the sewers and acts as judge, jury, and executioner to the city's criminals in retaliation for the unpunished murders of his wife and kids. Frank's ex-partner Jake (Louis Gossett Jr.) finally catches up with the vigilante as he tries to stop the Japanese mob, which is trying to take over the city's mafia operation. Written by Matt Carlin <ghola@umich.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Punisher will be coming for you, if you break the law! See more »


Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

5 October 1989 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Le punisseur  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) (1990) (1995)

Sound Mix:

(4 channels)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was a scene filmed, but cut from the movie, showing Frank Castle, when he was still a cop, busting mobster Dino Morretti (the mobster he kills at the beginning). However, there are still allusions to the bust in the film. When Sam Leary introduces herself to Berkowitz, she mentions that they had worked together on the Morretti bust ("I was the hooker."). And both the DVD and VHS copies of the movie feature a still photo on the jacket of Castle in a blue jean shirt with two guns, Berkowitz, and Leary (in her hooker disguise). See more »

Goofs

When Frank fights Tanaka's daughter, after he pins her to the wall, she takes both her earrings off and scratches him. In the next shot her earrings are back on and then they're gone again. See more »

Quotes

Sam Leary: How long do you think someone can live after you've cut out their heart?
Frank Castle: A long... time.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lego Marvel Super Heroes (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Winning isn't Everything, It's the Only thing
Performed and Written by Bobby Laurel
Courtesy of Gary Lazar Productions
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Better Than People Give Credit For
26 May 2003 | by (Sylvester, Georgia) – See all my reviews

No, this is not CITIZEN KANE. But it is an entertaining film that did make a somewhat unbelievable Marvel "hero" to celluloid.

Lundgren plays Frank Castle, a former NYPD detective (originally a military special ops expert in the comic) who loses his family to a mob hit. This pushes his already unstable personality over the edge, and he becomes a one-man judge, jury, and executioner. The VERY underrated Louis Gossett Jr. plays his former partner, determined to find him and keep him out of the gas chamber.

This movie is quite a decent action film. It actually delves quite deeply into the characters' motivations, their histories, their personalities. I agree with earlier comments that, out of the lot of action stars, Lundgren does bring at least some dramatic chops to the role. I really couldn't imagine Schwarzenegger playing this part, though Stallone or Willis might have been better choices.

The action sequences are done quite well for a low-budget film. The director, Mark Goldblatt, served as editor on films such as TERMINATOR 1 & 2, the underrated PREDATOR 2, TRUE LIES, STARSHIP TROOPERS, ARMAGEDDON, and PEARL HARBOR, so he definitely has knowledge of how to properly compose an action sequence. He also served as Paul Verhoeven's 2nd Unit Director on the original ROBOCOP.

The movie is rather tough to find, and though it strays away a bit from the source material, it does manage to flesh out a rather one-dimensional character.

A new version of THE PUNISHER is now being prepped, starring DREAMCATCHER's Thomas Jane as Frank Castle and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh.


25 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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10x better than the 2004 version christothefrantz
Dolph vs Jane vs Stevenson obin_gam
What's so bad about this film? paladin-64
The difference between this Punisher and the awful remake is... Sirus_51
Lady Tanaka's lovely daughter! Lorifan
Dolph is better guns2000
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