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(2004)

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8/10
A Pleasant Surprise
ccthemovieman-14 November 2005
I was surprised how good this movie was, not stupid as I figured. It's another one of those based-on-a-comic book hero films that seem to be popular nowadays (Hellboy, Batman, Sin City, Spiderman, Superman, etc.)

However, this was the not the cartoon-like film I expected. It was more of a pretty brutal revenge-crime movie. It's a rough movie, pure and simple.

Believable? Of course not. Some of the action is ludicrous but the most ridiculous of all - the fight against the huge Russian, is actually the most fun of the action scenes. The rest is just plain mean as the hero's entire family gets wiped out by gunman and "The Punisher" (Thomas Jane) goes after them after almost being killed himself.

A smart aspect of this film was inserting a bit of humor in it, such as the two nerds down the hallway who befriend "The Punisher."

The sometimes-juvenile but interesting action scenes, the diverse characters in here and the humor all combine to make this better than anticipated.

No, it's anything but a thinking man's movie, but it IS entertaining and harmless if you look at everything tongue-in-cheek.
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"Isn't science fun, Mickey?"
DarthBill20 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
A fairly good adaptation of the Marvel Comics vigilante character originally introduced in the Spider-Man comic books.

Former soldier and FBI man Frank Castle (exit Dolph Lundgren, enter Baltimore native Thomas Jane of "Deep Blue Sea" and "Dream-Catcher", who's about six or seven inches shorter than Dolph Lundgren but still pretty buffed up and also a naturally blond man having dyed his hair black to match the character's appearance in the comics) has retired from the action and is looking forward to living a quiet life with his wife and kid. While attending a family reunion at the beach (Roy Scheider plays his dad) Frank's family is attacked by assassins sent by Howard Saint (John Travolta) to avenge the death of one of his sons from Frank's last mission. In a shot similar to the original "Mad Max" (1979), Frank's wife and son are brutally run over with a giant truck while his father, brothers and in laws are gunned down. After being beaten to a pulp and shot in the chest and nearly blown to bits, Frank is saved by a local and nursed back to health. Naturally, he is enraged at the heartless murder of his family and goes after Howard saint, his wife, son, and secretly gay lawyer, thirsting for revenge. He sets up his base of operations in a run down building with three misfit neighbors - a sexy but unloved waitress, a guy with lots of piercings in his face, and an over weight Asian guy.

In many ways closer to the comic book than the earlier film, this one manages to get the skull shirt in there and remembers to at least mention that Frank was originally a soldier before going and making him a cop/FBI guy. Thoug Thomas Jane is not as physically imposing as Dolph Lundgren, he still manages to be a fairly menacing yet sympathetic figure. John Travolta delivers his usual joyful villain routine. Rebecca R-Stamos of the X-Men films (and yes, I know she's separating from her husband John) plays the sexy but unloved waitress who's spent the last few years trying to keep undesirable men out of her panties but once she gets an eyeful of Frank she wants to get into his pants because he's a strong, confident Alpha male who sticks up for the underdog and tries to steer Frank away from his suicide new life style. Rebecca is okay in this role, certainly no worse than any other comic book movie love interest.

One thing that surprised me about this film was how much humor was in it, whether it was Frank's fight with a giant blond Russian thug or his torturing the informant to be by threatening to blow torch him while actually burning a thing of meat while poking him in the back with an ice pop ("You are not a nice person."). Also worth noting is Frank's response to being told that obviously he's upset: "I used to get upset when I had a flat tire... when a plane was delayed... when the Yankees won the series..." Still, despite this humor, the film is never as ridiculously unbalanced as "Daredevil" or as disconnected as "Hulk" (both released in 2003). I was also expecting a little more violence, but all in all I was satisfied with what I got.

So far this is probably the best of the non-X-Men/Spider-Man Marvel movies. Of course, studios have a tendency to NOT give the lesser known characters a suitable running time to establish who they are because they ARE lesser known and try to compensate by making them fast paced. Once studios learn not to do this, better superhero films will become more common.
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10/10
Punisher too dark?
VelvetRevolver24 January 2005
Someone said that this movie was too dark for the genre...He must not have ever read any of the source material. The Punisher may be one of the darkest comic book characters ever created. This film and especially Thomas Jane, get that. This film is one of the better in the genre, because it sticks to the source better than most.

Yes, I am a fanboy. But I am a fan of action movies too. This movie took from some of the classics but made it their own. Its too bad that spiderman or superman fans cant see past the all superheros must be good guys...The Punisher is a different type of hero. The kind you wish we would never need, but also one that you may want.
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8/10
Classic Film making
Damien23 February 2005
Wonderful Camera work and acting.

There are no flashy CGI effects in this movie or fictional superpowers. It relies more on traditional technique's and delivers beautifully.

The director has done a superb job with the severely underfunded budget taking us to a realistic location that serves two purposes cheaper production costs and somewhere original that looks and feels real. After all that is what the punisher movie is about, making a comic book character fit into the real world with realistic situations.

This guy could be anyone out there with a vendetta up against believable enemies. There are no superpowers on show here just a guy with a vendetta up against a powerful man that wants him killed who can afford to hire realistic killers with personality I might add, to do the job

This goes down as one of my favorite films of all time mainly because of the beautiful camera work and realistic gritty style action. I'll be definitely keeping an eye out for this director's work in the future.
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GREAT MOVIE! vigilante-style justice done right
Paul (assman200)4 March 2006
"The Punisher" is a shining example of revenge and vigilante-style justice done right. It's also yet another comic book adaptation done properly. I thought this movie was one of the best I have seen in a long time. In the compendium of comic movies, this falls just shy of the two X-Men movies and Spider-Man but easily surpasses Batman, Batman Begins, Superman and The Hulk. The fact that it is an R-rated movie will kill any possible chance of decent box-office numbers, but it was a necessary step to take, and the quality of the movie just makes up for it. Hopefully this was Thomas Jane's breakout role, as he was outstanding and has the potential to be a contender to Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Colin Farrell, and Matt Damon as the next big action star. If you like action movies, check out this movie. If you like comic book adaptations, check out this movie. Heck, if you just like movies in general, The Punisher is two hours well-spent. Like Thomas Jane himself says, "Frank Castle is dead. Long live The Punisher."
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I enjoyed everything about this dark tale.
bumblebeeman77719 April 2005
The Punisher put my faith back into revenge movies. The action in this film is unbelievable and grim. I found myself not wanting the story to end. Many of the movies based on superheroes in a comic book tend not to sticks gritty and real. This one was and then some. The movie has surpassed my expectation and I certainly look forward Punisher 2.

The next film sets itself up for a kick butt start. They should take a page from X2 or the Lethal Weapon series and just open the next film with a wild battle. You can grab the viewer right away and still tell your full story right after. I hope the entire cast as well as the director returns because they crafted one quality origin story here. In summary, I enjoyed everything about this dark tale.
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10/10
Another amazing Marvel Flick
Bryan5 October 2004
This is the second version of 'The Punisher', and while I enjoy the original that starred Dolph Lungren, I LOVED this one. Thomas Jane was amazing, he definitely had the essence of the tortured Frank Castle down perfect. The acting in this movie was extremely well done, a lot more well done than many people (critics) have given it credit for. I think that John Travolta even though he can be a bit annoying at times played a great bad guy, and his character was sinister, and cruel, but loving at the same time. Will Patton I think almost stole the show with his portrayal of his character Quentin Glass, because he had a charisma about him that was equally disturbing. It was a great movie, not just 'great for what it was'. The story was good, the stunts, and the violence amazing, and I really hope they greenlight for a sequel.
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One of 2004's Best Movies - GREAT revenge film
UMWolvie24422 May 2004
This wonderful revenge film was acted and directed with complete conviction but still found the time to kick ass. This is one of the best movies I have seen this year and I go to at least one movie a week. The acting was good. I would recommend this movie to everyone. I thought it was going to be some type of 80's action movie, but it turned out to be great movie aimed towards an older crowd. The beginning is a bit slow, but the action really keeps you focused. Thomas Jane did an excellent job as the Punisher and Travolta's performance was much better than I was expecting. This is a movie that thinks so deeply about its conflicts and decisions that there are times when the audience itself feels like it has a personal stake in the outcome. This is by far the best film in the reinvigorated sub-genre of comic-book-to-screen conversions.
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8/10
Gritty, Low-Tech Action Film that Works...
Ben Burgraff (cariart)11 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Audiences have become so accustomed to being overloaded by CGI effects in recent comic book adaptations that the idea of a tougher, leaner approach seemed to catch viewers and critics off-guard, when this latest adaptation of "The Punisher" premiered. Sadly, most critics chose to ignore the very qualities that made this film so special, never accepting that the story is closer in spirit to "Sin City" than "Spider-Man" or "Daredevil". Now that the film is available on DVD, I invite everyone to take a second look at this dark tale of the fine line one man walks between Justice and Vengeance...you may be surprised by how good it really is! The film is carefully constructed to allow viewers an opportunity to see dedicated undercover cop Frank Castle in action, and to understand the caring, loving family man Frank Castle was...before mob boss Howard Saint, and his equally ruthless wife, Livia (played by a remarkably low-key John Travolta and Laura Harring), takes vengeance for their son's death by ordering the brutal execution of Castle's entire family. As conceived, with total conviction, by Thomas Jane, Castle is so completely traumatized that he 'lets go' of what remained of his compassion, and becomes a human weapon, devoid of pity, living only to see justice done, in equal measure to the crime.

This is not someone you can easily 'warm up' to, and as the movie evolves into a series of executions, you may actually start to feel more sympathy toward the Saints and their henchman, Quentin Glass (the ever-watchable Will Patton) than in Castle. But screenwriter Michael France, and co-writer and director Jonathan Hensleigh, both well-versed in the Marvel comic character, add three quirky 'innocents' (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ben Foster, and John Pinette), who Castle warms up to, somewhat, and must ultimately protect. He will never recover the compassion that he lost, but he realizes that for many being brutalized, he is the only hope they have, giving him a purpose to live for.

Unlike the earlier, Dolph Lundgren "Punisher", hampered by a minuscule budget and two-dimensional acting, this version makes the most of its small budget, with first-class acting (including a VERY welcome cameo by Roy Scheider), incredible stunt and pyrotechnic work, and a storyline that offers far more depth than you might expect in a comic book adaptation.

I sincerely hope a sequel is made, as this will be a film that will grow in stature as audiences realize how good it actually is!
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vigilante-style justice done right
grizzley17 January 2005
If you like the old Clint Eastwood & Charles Bronson revenge movies then you'll like this film. Great pace and action that's gritty but extremely enjoyable. I can't say I knew anything about this Punisher character before seeing this film but I thoroughly enjoyed it none-the-less.

The Punisher is a shining example of revenge and vigilante-style justice done right. It's also yet another comic book adaptation done properly. In fact, this may be the first time I wished we could give half-vaults, because it was just that good. In the compendium of comic movies, this falls just shy of the two X-Men movies, but it is right there with Spider-Man and easily surpasses Batman, Superman and The Hulk. The fact that it is an R-rated movie killed any possible chance of decent box-office numbers, but it was a necessary step to take, and the quality of the movie just makes up for it. Hopefully this was Thomas Jane's breakout role.
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8/10
Well written and casted, Beautiful cinematography.
dorlich7 July 2005
Though I was unfamiliar with the comic book character, I was impressed with the all around quality of the production. It didn't hurt to have the cosmically beautiful Laura Harring (mullholland drive)cast as Saint's wife. Should have had more of her character. Thomas Jane turned in a very worthy performance, as I think it's difficult to play these comic book characters without causing nausea and guffaws. Interesting that there was a bit of philosophy re society and it's criminal element, kudos to the director/writer for a cogent screenplay. Did Jane remind anyone of the french actor in the original Immortal? i.e. his guttural delivery and dour countenance.
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7/10
Classic revenge brought to our generation.
TimLax5126 January 2006
This movie came onto the scene with very little fanfare. It isn't a CGI powerhouse. There's no Matrix/Kill Bill style fight scenes. But what it lacks in modern trends it more than makes up for in a good old fashioned revenge plot. Touting a story that would have been fit for a Clint Eastwood flick like Outlaw Josey Wales or Hang 'em High, the Punisher takes the viewer on journey into the soul of a gritty vigilante. Thomas Jane plays the lead role to perfection, his voice acting is incredible. Although this isn't your daddy's (or Dolph's) emotionless Punisher. He is much more cerebral here than in most of the other media he has popped up in, and more human, but not any more humane. Using the tried and true style of fist fights and pyrotechnics this movie keeps the character rooted in his all too mortal persona. The supporting characters turn in equally descent roles, the likes of John Travolta worked well, although nothing outstanding. No doubt about it, Thomas Jane ran away with this one. He's just a normal guy doing super-normal things, with a lot of gunfire and explosions to boot. If you are in the target demographic (Male aged 17-30) you will definitely enjoy this film. If not, proceed at your own risk.
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10/10
The #1 best comic book adaption I've ever seen
cgpkcfan2 January 2006
Man I really love this film. Great acting, great storyline, perfect dark brutal violence is what makes this film so really special out of all other marvel adapt ions. Other marvel movies I've seen so far from Spider-man 1 & 2, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, X2 X-men united. All these marvel flicks are great but The Punisher measures way up past great. Thomas Jane dose a great leading role as well as John Travolta a great villain role. Of course for all who have seen the movie all know the plot. After castles final operation spinning out of control killing one of the saint twins, Howard and Livia order out a brutal mob attack on castle family reunion, killing everyone, his wife, his son will, his mom and dad, cousins, uncles, I can imagine castles pain and taste for vengeance on the saint family. More other great work is the stunts the car chase sense where castle is hunted down by a bounty hunter harry heck of course hes some sorta country boy who was probably hinting castle with a tune that he was gonna attempt to kill castle who also gets his throat slashed by castle, a 2nd hit-man the Russian played by a great wrestler Kevin Nash probably without a doubt the most brutal sequence in the movie. Alittle bad language here and there but the best thing about this film is that it is very true to both the character and comics. The Punisher is a hard-R rated movie delivering a great action film of this generation. Fans of the comics will love this and probably by now are hoping for a sequel as I am myself! 10/10 AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA+ all the way :)
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7/10
Violent movie upon a bloody vengeance
ma-cortes30 June 2005
The film talks on a police agent G man(Thomas Jane)called Frank Castle whose family(wife Samantha Morton and dad Roy Scheider) was wiped out by a mobsters (John Travolta,wife Laura Harring and son Ben Foster, besides Will Patton) retaliates,thus he executes an incredible revenge originating a bodycount about numerous baddies.He's helped by a freaks group (Rebeca Romijin Stamos and others). The final confrontation amongst the starring and the enemies is breathtaking and groundbreaking .

In the picture there are thriller,frenetic action ,drama suspense, emotion and a little bit of blood and gore. Runtime film is adjusted about two hours and isn't bored because is fast moving but happen amount events and for that is entertained and funny. The motion picture has a certain resemblance with Charles Bronson films of the series ¨Death Wish¨for the matter, the avenging, thus one personage ,¨the vigilante¨ makes of judge,jury and executioner. The yarn is an adaptation from a Marvel Comics character created by Gary Conway.Previously was realized the first version with Dolph Lundgren and Lois Gossett JR that was a flop and attained lukewarm reception by the public . However this rendition has obtained many success in the box office in spite of the violence is extreme and some scenes are crude and cruel. The interpretation of the principal actors are nice but the secondary cast with the quirky bunch are magnificent. Cinematography by Conrad W.Hall(Son of the mythic photographer Conrad L.Hall)is excellent. The pic is well directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. Rating: Above average. Well catching
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10/10
Tom Jane is absolutely breathtaking!
Christopher Cook8 July 2005
This movie is one of those movies that make you wonder why every movie isn't as good. However, if you are aren't the type that likes intense violence and content a bit more mature than PG, then I don't recommend this at all to you.

Tom Jane plays Frank Castle, a broken and confused F.B.I. agent who loses his family to a band of mobsters, who horrifically slaughter every last one of the members of his family, including his extended family. The pain and anger that he deals with causes him to become what he used to hunt down, a murderer who slaughters criminals day and night. His first target is the man responsible for his family's murder, a man named Howard Saint (terrifically played by John Travolta). The suspense and excitement experienced throughout the film eventually unfurls into a dramatic and astonishing conclusion that movie-goers will never forget.

I can't think of anything more to say about this movie, so I will say this: The value of this movie is beyond words. At least 10x better than the original 1989 film starring Dolph Lundgren as the executioner, this is a memorable and unforgettable film that is guaranteed to leave you in awe.

10/10!
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10/10
Si vas pace para bellium. If you want peace prepare for war.
bluesman-208 February 2010
Thomas Jane's portrayal of the Punisher is right out of the comic book. Dark Humorless driven The Punisher is not meant to be funny That's up to his supporting cast. However the one complaint I have with the film is they changed his origin Why? They also Changed Frank Castle the man and in doing so altered the film in such a way it loses it's relationship with the original marvel hero. But the film works Hensleigh delivers a power bomb of a film it packs a punch and it entertains. If I wasn't a fan of The Punisher maybe the film would've gotten less from me then the rating I did give it of ten. Travolta comes thru hamming it up every chance he gets and creating a merciless enemy in his Howard saint. Will Patton is superb in a thankless job playing the sidekick to the main villain. but his Quenton Glass Sparkles with a sadistic gleam and he helps drive the plot forward. But the film rightfully belongs to Thomas Jane he is creates a Punisher struggling with his humanity and knowing what he has to do and slowly turning his back on every thing he's ever known to Punish the gulity. Good movie Good effort true Punisher fans will not be disappointed. And if you're not a fan this movie might make you a fan of the Punisher.
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7/10
Old-school
Flagrant-Baronessa30 October 2006
Producers and distributors alike can try to market this as a superhero movie all they want but the fact is that at the end of the day The Punisher is an action movie – no more, no less. That is not to say it is a bad achievement, for the end product is fun, exhilarating and stylish. I do however feel it is extremely important to debunk the 'comic book' label since it is both unjustly applied and it will perhaps generate false expectations from the mainstream audience.

Although The Punisher is adapted from Marvel Comics, the R-rating alone should be blunt indicator of the path it intends to take. Half an hour into the film it still leaves us clueless and oblivious to the dark turn it will twist into. During which Thomas Jane undergoes an apt transformation of character from heartfelt family man on that one last undercover op to a hard-boiled, brooding vigilante who downs whiskey, swears, tortures and broods. The catalyst for this development is the brutal murder of his family and now he's out to get the hierarchy of villains (headed by John Travolta) – only he isn't just out for vengeance or justice – he's out to punish. In a corrupt city of thugs, Frank Castle becomes the judge, jury and executor.

What is so refreshing about Thomas Jane in the part of Punisher is that he is a sprawling surge of old school with a splash of Clint Eastwood protagonist – the detached, effortless action hero who is too cool for romantic interests, with hardcore one-liners and a merciless approach to duels. In this way, he is easily one of the most successful 'superhero' actors of the new millennium. But alas, Jane went unnoticed and Punisher did poorly at the box office probably BECAUSE it adopted this off-beat, old-school style to acting and action.

I also want to comment on said action, which was spectacular. Truth to be told, I have been waiting a long time to say that about a film. Usually it's the obligatory "the visuals are stunning" or "it's extremely fast-paced and kinetic" but here the sheer hand-to-hand combat is the film's goldmine because it moves back into close character mode instead of the epic scenarios that Batman, Superman and Spiderman dish out to keep out interest. It's gloriously gritty, graphic and dirty which unfortunately also begs the question of where the $33,000,000 budget went. Did they spend it all on late night taco runs?

For that matter, The Punisher is far from devoid of faults. Its fatal flaw stems, in part, from what made it a good film in the first place: its sparseness of effects, general minimalism and lack of superhero formula. Rather it is a model-kit assembled from seedy old-school revenge action movies, the type you'd sort of casually catch a bit of on TV one night.

7 out of 10
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8/10
Much better than the 1990 version
BroadswordCallinDannyBoy4 January 2006
Frank Castle, a government agent, completes a sting operation during an illegals weapons sale and in doing so the son of Howard Saint, a ruthless Miami mobster, is killed. The bust was Castle's last job and he leaves the service and goes to a family reunion in the Caribbean, but unknown to him, Saint has tracked him and sends out hit men who massacre Castles entire family - wife, child, parents, cousins, everyone. Then they shoot and leave him for dead and The Punisher, a vigilante that is a force to be reckoned with, is born.

Director Jonathan Hensleigh has changed the story around from the original comic book. Many changes were for budget reasons, but also updates in time to bring the story into the present (2004ish) and not the 1970s when the Punisher originally debuted with Marvel. However, the ruthless spirit of a powerful avenger is here and Thomas Jane fits the part almost perfectly with his almost John McClane approach to the role making a believable hero: one that is tough as nails, but critically not invincible. One who uses his brain as much as his brawn, and gets himself out of outrageous situations with his lethal array of weapons: spring loaded knives, grenades, stashed guns, assault rifles, and the list goes on. However avid readers of the long running comic book may find the film tame in comparison, but as far as comic book adaptations go this is one of the best recent ones right up there with SpiderMan.

Dolph Lundgren's 1990 version still has some merits, but this film is better in almost every respect. Most notably, in this film, the title hero actually has his infamous skull shirt, and the storyline is drawn much more directly from the original comics. 8/10

Rated R: strong violence, brutality, and profanity.
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10/10
Good adrenaline pumping action, great story, great acting... A+
masschaos4 October 2005
This movie had everything a Marvel comic fan could ask for, great leading characters; great story that stays true to the comics; low campiness; and high appeal... finally, a Punisher storyline that does the character justice.

A lot of people like to compare and contrast this 2004 version and the 1989 version, which is kind of pointless since the two versions are complete opposites. They seem to think the 2004 version deludes the character; he doesn't "avenge" as wantonly as he should. All heroes/anti-heroes have some traumatic events that made them who they are.

The 1989 movie was set in the character's "adolesensce" after all the horrible events of his life got to him and made him into the unbridled psycho-avenger we know and love. whereas the 2004 one takes place at the beginning of his madness,; it shows us the character's descention into madness. In effect, throughout the movie is Frank Castle, at the end Frank becomes the Punisher. 10/10
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Similar to the First MAD MAX
dj_foxi_11-114 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I am in the middle of watching Mad Max, and I couldn't help but notice a few similarities between Mad Max and The Punisher.

* Both Frank Castle and Max Rockatansky are cops

* Both were on some sort of leave from the force when their families were murdered. (Frank was with his family celebrating a family reunion, Max is taking a holiday with wife and Baby after his best friend Goose's death).

* Both Max and Frank were hunted down after getting one of the gang members in each movie murdered (Bobby Saint in Punisher, and The NightRider in Mad Max) by accident.

* Max's wife and Baby son were chased down the highway and run over by motorcycles, Frank's wife and son were chased down the jetty and run over by a Red Bronco ute.

* Both Wives and children tried to escape by driving away. Max's wife in the Sandman, and Frank's wife in the Bronco with a boat attached.

* Both Max and Frank end up becoming renagade cops and end up hunting down the baddies.

* Oh yeah and both drive converted cars, which are both coloured Black, and have V8 Motors. Frank's car was a Pontiac GTO,done up with metal venetian window shields, Max's car was a Ford Falcon XB coupe, V8 351 (The Black Interceptor).

Overall, I loved The Punisher. Its not your average Comic book movie. He doesn't have special powers like Spiderman, and The Hulk, and Hellboy do, he's just a normal guy, taking out his anger the way normal people would do...In extreme circumstances.
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10/10
The Best Comic Movie Ever!!!!!
lovadoll1 October 2005
This is by far the most realistic and fantastic comic book movie ever made.The acting is superb Tom Jane gives an unforgettable performance,and John Travolta is the perfect villain.The action in this film is stylized,intense,and always for a reason.It's a very serious movie about a depressed man whose family is murdered,and he goes on an endless quest to avenge them.It is without a doubt the best story of vengeance to date.The Punisher defeats Kill Bill to become the number one revenge movie by delivering a great story,superb solid acting,and unbelievable action.Comic book movies are certain to change in style and this will be the ice breaker for that to happen.The Punisher is an unbelievable comic to film adaption and i recommend it to anyone and everyone.This is the style that started the on screen change from movies like X-men and Spiderman to the darker,more emotional Spiderman 2,Daredevil,Sin City,History Of Violence,and Batman Begins.I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this magnificent piece of art.WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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The failure to make Castle a complex, horrifying, hate-filled mess sees the film stuck as an average (if very violent) action movie
bob the moo16 July 2005
Frank Castle is a cop who leads a bust that sees the son of crime boss Howard Saint end up dead. Not content with killing Castle, Saint orders the whole Castle family to be killed – which they are, in a bloody seaside massacre. However Frank survives the attack – just; but with nothing left of his life he focuses on the only thing he knows – hate. With this the only thing he now feels, Castle sets out to bring down Saint, killing each and every one of them that were involved in his family's death.

If you are looking for a violent action movie with lots of things going bang and quite cool images then this will pretty much do you. You sound like you have quite low requirements in life and this film is happy to settle for less to help meet them. The action is distracting enough – hardly fun perhaps but certainly violent enough and regular enough to satisfy the target audience of teenage males. However below this there is nothing where really their should have been a great deal. Castle is supposedly a tormented figure; he must blame himself for his family's death since he created the enemies that killed them; he has nothing but revenge and even when he has had that he must know that he will then have nothing else. However Castle in this film is just mean, apart from the extreme violence he just comes across as antisocial rather than racked by a terrible pain and emptiness.

And it is in this part of the film that it falls down in a major way because although it wants to be all dark and complex, it really is nothing of the start. The opening credits are dark and menacing but the rest of the film is just a straightforward action affair – hell, it doesn't even have anything of interest to say in regards revenge or vigilantism; although this is minor compared to the failure to give Castle any character beyond that of a standard Hollywood tough guy. Without this heart to the film, the extreme violence is more about getting an audience than getting to the heart of the character. The violence is unpleasant but not as much as it should have been – it should have been horrific, sickening to the point where we're not sure if Castle was ever any better than Saint. It wasn't like this, it was just gory and seemed to take pleasure if making the audience wince. I wanted to be sickened by the massacre of the Castle family – I wasn't; I wanted the massacre of the Saints to play out so that the film showed us how similar it was to the earlier massacre – but it didn't. It may want to have been dark but it just ends up being a Hollywood action movie after all – and a fairly ordinary one at that.

Jane must have known what he was up against and he can do nothing to stop it. Neither he nor the material have the complexity needed and for most of the film he just seems to be brooding rather than hurting. Travolta is so-so but has little time; I assume he took the role because it is an interesting baddie who did manage to have a more tragic character than Jane did. The support cast are mainly poor mostly because of the material. The film didn't need a love interest or a comic relief – so Romjin-Starmos, Foster and the big guy (sorry, don't know his name) couldn't have gotten off the screen quickly enough. Patton is reasonably good but he is better than this film deserves. Nobody is terrible but nobody is particularly good and, although it should have been, this was not a film for the actors.

Overall what should have been a dark, disturbing, complex, violent and emotional film is just a normal action movie with some rather unpleasant violence. Without heart the film does enough to distract its target audience but those foolish enough to expect anything beyond the basics will only go away disappointed.
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8/10
A Realistic Anti Super Anti Hero Movie
dennisdoperfantasy29 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie seemed to stick to the spirit of the comics. No radioactive spiders, no mutant genes, no demons and angels, no magic. In short, only a slight suspension of disbelief. Honestly the only scene that didn't seem completely possible was Frank's survival. It was entertaining and told a decent story. Its not perfect, the main villain is a bit over acted (easily over looked in a comic book movie) and Thomas Jane owns the screen.

I'd definitely place this closer to something like Sin City than Spiderman, deadly serious with a few funny moments (it has the funniest torture scene in any movie I've seen) So is this a rent or buy? It depends on how you feel about a tragic revenge story, If its not so much you're thing, rent it. For those who like it, they like it a lot it seems.

Can't wait for a possible sequel and where they take Frank Castle's Punisher character Overall an 8 out of 10 by me
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10/10
Its really good
Gabriella Arrigo5 February 2005
I think that this movie rocks. Tom Jane is so sexy. He plays a good part. I don't know why but I fell in love with this movie. I watch it every day and night. There can never be a movie better than this. It is so cool with all that stuff that he does. I love it. I don't think they could have made it any better. It is a perfect length, too. I wish that I could have been in that movie working with Tom Jane. That would have made my life so happy. When i first saw it I was memorized so bad that I went and kept watching it over and over until I had all words memorized. I would watch it so much that for about a week I got no sleep. I just love it so much. It rocks and it is awesome. They could not have gotten anyone else to play those parts.
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1/10
This is one of the worst comic book movies out there
sharkydx26 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Holy crap. Who are these people who think this is a good movie? I've read several of the user reviews, and the best thing they've got to say about this movie is that it's rated R and it has some humor.

THIS IS THE PUNISHER. If anyone has ever read the comics, or has any kind of familiarity with the punisher, they would know he isn't supposed to have any humor. He is a dark, violent, anti-heroic vigilante. Yet, this crap movie shows him smacking people with frying pans, and his big fight was almost cartoonish. After he got hit, I almost expected him to hold up a sign that said "ouch".

John Travolta plays his way over-the-top villain as he has for his past few movies.

This is one of the reasons people don't make more comic book movies, cuz this is crap, right along with Daredevil, Elektra, and the Hulk.

If you want to see what the Punisher movie should've been like, watch Man on Fire. No humor, no frying pans, just pure violent vengeance. And yes, it too, is rated R.
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