From the character’s initial 1989 outing with Dolph Lundgren, to Thomas Jane in 2003, Ray Stevenson in 2008, and Jon Bernthal in 2017, the Punisher keeps stumbling on the way from page to screen.
the punisher movie trailer – ‘THE PUNISHER Dear War Journal … This Movie Owns!’
There’s been a lot of talk about Daredevil hopefully coming back in the MCU, following Netflix clearing house of its Marvel content, due to him being a good fit for the franchise. Ray Stevenson spirals into self-doubt, even threatening to retire, after accidentally killing an innocent man. Dolph Lundgren works with the man who killed his family in service of the greater good. Thomas Jane is far too friendly with his neighbors. But Jon Bernthal takes it a step further, acting entirely human in his interactions with Micro and his family, and even attempting to reason with the veteran-turned-terrorist later in the season.
Serious comic book nerds will either already know or be totally freaked out by the fact that Rebecca Romijn played Joan in the 2004 “Punisher” movie at the same time she was playing Mystique in the first three “X-Men” movies.
The Punisher was popular enough in the 1980s to convince a company called New World Pictures to make a Punisher direct-to-video movie starring Dolph Lundgren. It did a basic Frank Castle outline, started a mob war between the Yakuzi and the mafia, and played itself out without making much of an impression.
The problem with this whole thread is that it removes the fantasy element from the character. Although this is easily the most fantastical and cartoonish of the three Punisher films, it tries to inject real-life consequences to Castle’s murderous vigilantism and still expect us to root for him. Sorry, but the fantasy of Castle is that he only kills the bad guys and never targets the innocent. Once you remove that criteria, then it is impossible to justify the concept of The Punisher, even in a fantasy scenario.
I just wanted to enjoy Thomas Jane, but this actually isn’t a bad movie. It’s Hollywood formula, yes, but Travolta was fun to watch as villain punished for his evil ways, and the supporting cast on Jane’s side was great entertainment. Not to mention Thomas’ handsome face and rippling deltoids. He makes a good hero and it’s a shame he didn’t do the follow up a few years later. At any rate, this is worth watching, for what it is, definitely worth watching.
That popularity also led to a movie with Dolph Lundgren in 1989 that was not much of a hit and barely got released. When superhero movies took off in the early 2000s, another shot was taken with Thomas Jane in 2004, and then another with Ray Stevenson in 2008.
Papa Wolf : Not just the title character, but Saint is a dark example since his son’s death is what triggered his vendetta against the Castle Family. There is also Frank Sr. who, along with Frank, was able to take out many of Saint’s mooks Even though he took a shotgun blast to the back, Frank Sr. used the last of his strength to knife a man that was going after Frank.
The release of The Punisher was wisely pushed back after a heavily armed gunman opened fire on a crowd in Las Vegas last month. But the underlying philosophical problem with Frank Castle doesn’t get any less complex after a few weeks’ delay.
IN THE CASE OF THE ’04 FILM: This movie decided to focus a lot of the story on the development of Frank Castle. I think Thomas Jane was great in the role, as the Punisher, he was a cold-hearted killer. As castle, he was an emotional wreck after his wife and kid were murdered. A lot of people don’t like the fact the he was brooding half the time. To which I reply: HIS ENTIRE FAMILY WAS MURDERED! (Plus, Jane made that kickass Dirty Laundry short).
And that’s the movie, a revenge scenario so simple it could have been created on a playground. In the right hands, it might have worked: John Woo could have turned it into a bullet-drenched melodrama, some kind of crazy variation on In The Bedroom. With Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino turns a similar scenario into a meditation on honor, justice, and a century of different styles of cinematic violence. Sadly, The Punisher is about little more than bullets hitting bone, and how good it might feel to be on the right end of a gun.
Foreshadowing : Even before Frank planted evidence, at one scene, Howard noticed his wife and best friend spending time together. Howard Saint: Oh, I think I might. Is it worth watching? Sure. It’ll kill a couple of hours and it’s not totally dreadful. Just don’t expect to see anything more than a typical action film with a couple of comic book like moments thrown in here and there.
The bad is just about everything else. Lacking the budget of other comic properties of the time, The Punisher‘s seams begin to burst under the weight of its ambition. Its script, which waffles between hackneyed and preposterous, is only saved by the actors giving their all in service to the material. It is truly a B-movie wrapped up in the body of an aspiring blockbuster. But that is also what makes it so damn good.
Extreme violence with graphic injuries, many characters killed, including a child, attempted suicide. Intense and graphic violence. Revenge by Proxy : Howard was content to simply have Frank killed in return for the death of his son, but it was his wife who insisted that Frank’s entire family had to die, too.
The Punisher slaughtered criminals by the dozen and rose to prominence when he tried to kill Spider-Man. Spidey had been framed for the murder of businessman Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. The Punisher nearly killed Spider-Man, but backed off after learning the truth.
Of course, to make such a point is to entertain nuances and distinctions for which “The Punisher” has no use. Its lack of subtlety is clearly a point of pride, and Mr. Hensleigh’s flat-footed, hard-punching style has a blunt ferocity that makes “Kill Bill” look like “In the Bedroom.” A few set pieces were clearly meant to have a grisly, Tarantinoesque wit; it hardly seems coincidental that the movie’s coldblooded torture artiste is named Quentin. But lightness is not among Mr. Hensleigh’s gifts. Making his directorial debut after a successful run as a screenwriter and producer (on projects like “Die Hard With a Vengeance,” “Jumanji” and “The Rock” ) he has clearly conceived “The Punisher” as a throwback to the leathery, angry urban revenge movies of the 1970’s.
Revenge of the Fans is a nerd-leaning news, analysis, and enjoyment project. The site was started in early 2018, in the dark days before anyone on the Internet had anything to say about comic book movies or pop culture. The site was the idea of Mario Francisco Robles, a man with his finger on the pulse of the comic book movie industry, and Jon, a person who we aren’t completely sure isn’t a figment of Mario’s imagination.
The beginning of the current wave of theatrical superhero movies, X-Men” was kind of a cheapie and it showed. Novel at the time, now it just comes off as unremarkable mid-budget action fare as Fox was merely sticking its toe in the superhero waters. Timid.
So don’t ever go see this movie if you can help ‘s not “funny” bad, it’s just bad.Nothing in the film follows even the most basic sense of logic or coherent tone is stiff at best and I can see better violence on the streets in Georgetown on a Friday a time when kick-ass vengeance movies like Kill Bill and Man On Fire are chalking up big box office with white-knuckle retribution, it’s impossible to take anything about The Punisher a darn shame.
That next scene following is Frank Castle in his private quarters, drink in hand, gun on the other. He believes the war is over and he can go join his family in a more depressing route. He arms the gun with a devastatingly solemn look in his eyes, a man who just wants the pain to end. This was a personal score that was already settled and he saw nothing more fitting for his sins.
Frank Castle: Howard Saint’s. Howard Saint: No, no. He, he misses his family and he wants to die. He’s asking for help-so let’s help him. Badass Baritone : Frank’s voice becomes much gruffer after his family dies. Frank Castle is dead. There is no vengeance, but punishment. By now, you’d think he finished his character arc to become the Punisher? Still not there.
Marvel and Netflix have been frustratingly withholding of the newest street-hero series’ premiere date, following Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. But it may be thanks to an innocuous write-up of the upcoming first season that we may finally know The Punisher release date.
War Zone is one of only two films that Marvel Studios produced under its Marvel Knights sub-studio—the other being Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengance. The same year as War Zone, they also put out Iron Man, which turned out to be a better harbinger of things to come from Marvel Studios.
Parents need to know that this movie has intense and graphic violence with many characters killed, including the Punisher’s parents, wife, and child. Characters are tortured and beaten. A character attempts suicide. Characters drink (and Castle abuses alcohol). They also smoke and use bad language.
The extended cut features a subplot where it is revealed that Castle’s friend betrayed him to the Saints in exchange for forgiving gambling debts. Castle confronts the friend and, in a very dark scene, convinces him to commit suicide.
In 2008, a sequel of sorts was made. Jane bowed out, and director Lexi Alexander was rumored to have lost control. Nonetheless, this was my favorite Punisher movie by far, with Ray Stevenson playing him as a slasher villain with guns, who defends against even worse villains. He didn’t quite get the costume, but the skull logo was still there. The movie bombed, despite being the truest adaptation to date.
Castle moves into a shitty apartment that he fills almost entirely with weaponry. The other three apartments in the building are rented by Joan—a diner server who has had a series of abusive relationships—Dave, and Bumpo. The other three are fascinated by Castle’s routine, which involves stockpiling weapons and armoring his car.
Oh, and during that glass bottle munching factory scene, Frank Castle inexplicably kills a federal agent by accident, which sets a chain of events in motion that puts everyone around him in mortal peril (including the MIA Wayne Knight, as Castle’s only friend). More so than any of the other movies, The Punisher is directly responsible for the mayhem and chaos that goes down. As the plot unfolds, we quickly realize that if Castle had simply stayed out of the way, pretty much every bad guy that is targeted by Castle would have been arrested on capital charges in a matter of days anyway.
What Frank was doing during the entirety of the film was a personal goal of what happened to his own family, and even though Punisher is one who executes those he knows, or rather feels, are embodied with crime and evil, he did it for more than just himself.
When Jon Bernthal returns to Netflix later this month in The Punisher, he’ll be walking down a well-worn path. The superhero-movie industry likes to paint itself as risk-averse, but somehow the Marvel antihero has been given room to fail on the big screen three times before his well-received supporting role in Daredevil. Now that he’s the headliner again, it’s worth looking back on one of those failed attempts, one of Marvel Studios’ best and most under-appreciated films: 2008’s Punisher: War Zone.
Based on the comic book, THE PUNISHER centers on heroic undercover agent Frank Castle (Thomas Jane). The target in his last big case unexpectedly brings a friend along to the takedown, and when things go wrong, the friend is killed. It turns out he was the son of big-time bad guy Howard Saint (John Travolta), whose wife orders the slaughter of Castle’s whole family, conveniently all vacationing together on an island. Castle himself is attacked and badly wounded, but the explosion that is supposed to finish him off blows him to safety. But a quick montage later he is a lean, mean revenge machine with a newly low and growly voice. He moves into a crummy apartment building and devotes all his time to drinking and orchestrating the destruction of everything Saint cares about.
That Castle is a comic-book character has long been more of a bonus than a core feature. There’s an amazing opportunity to get a nice two-fer at the box office. You get the action fans and comic fans with one movie, without having to invest in the expensive costumes, sets, and effects that superhero movies have always required.
The movie distanced itself by giving The Punisher a different origin from Jane’s version, and it styled itself after Garth Ennis’ famed Marvel MAX take on the character instead. When Frank Castle’s family is murdered by criminals, he wages war on crime as a vigilante assassin known only as The Punisher.
Thinking he’s left his dangerous days behind, Frank retires from the FBI and takes his wife and son to an extended family reunion in Puerto Rico. That’s where Saint’s goons find them. After a lot of explosions, gunfights and car chases everyone is dead—except the primary target, a badly wounded and left-for-dead Frank.
If Frank kills cops, even accidentally, it brings up one of the most egregious issues with the post-Dolph Punisher adaptations: it makes it too real. Punisher only works if we operate on comic book logic; i.e., that he never kills innocents, even accidentally. If he does, it invalidates his entire mission, protecting the innocent by punishing the guilty. Even if innocents get caught in the crossfire, they must never be directly killed by Frank.
Inflamed by the death of their son, Tampa businessman Howard Saint (John Travolta) and his wife, Livia, whose wealth is linked to violent beginnings and underworld ties, are willing to risk their newfound legitimacy on a mission of vengeance. Castle’s worst nightmare is about to come true, as Howard Saint and his lieutenants unleash hell at the Castle family reunion.
After Bobby’s funeral Howard sends Quentin on the hit to kill Frank Castle. However, Livia Saint is the one who initiates the plot to wipe out the entire family. Quentin asks if she is sure that is what she wants and she replies yes.