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 <email@example.com>
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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.
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