The Punisher (2004)

He slices, he dices, he kicks a lot of ass – he’s The Punisher! I’m very happy about comic book movies in the last couple of years. Ever since the first X-Men people finally realized that comics can make good movies if properly done! Ages ago it was a lot more difficult without CGI (especially for series with a lot of fancy super powers) and led to some sub par movies (Toxic The Ravager? Howard The Duck? lol!). Now that they get proper treatment, respect and even ticket sales, it’s maybe time to explore some more niche series. Enters The Punisher.

Frank Castle isn’t a mutant. He doesn’t have super powers. He can’t leap over tall building or regenerate quickly from wounds (ok maybe that could be discussed but we’ll say it’s metabolism). He’s just very, very, very pissed off. [No he’s not, explained in an excellent scene in the movie!] His whole family was killed. Wife and kid ? Not enough! Parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, _all_ his family is executed at a family reunion in the sun. I guess it’s better than dying from lack of food with your toungue glued to a post at the North Pole. Anyway. After the execution, as you might guess or have seen from the previews, Castle survives and goes about punishing those who did him wrong.

And he’s darn good at it.

The movie is rating for 16 years-old and over where I live – usually movies rated R in the US get a 13 rating here so I was really surprised. But there’s a reason – some parts are rather gory (yeah!). The whole flick is full of really dark humour too. Nice explosive mix. If you like movies going a bit over the top and explore dark paths a bit more this is for you. A friend of mine confirmed it followed closely the character development of the serie series and limited series of the comic book, always a good sign. I liked the book without collecting it, the main interest being a bit one-dimensional for my tastes.. But when you just want action and a lot of killing, Frank is the man for the job.

The flick is 2 hours long but it goes by in a flash. The sound is excellent, and I really liked he casting except maybe for a couple of details: Travolta could have easily been replaced (he was a lot better in Swordfish), Thomas Jane always reminds me too much of Christopher Lambert, and Travolta’s best friend always made me think of U2’s Edge. Go figure. Oh yeah and there’s also a hitman from Memphis who looks like Wayne Newton a bit! There’s dark humour dripping from most scenes, almost to the point of making you wonder if you’re supposed to be laughing.. Excellent.

So I really liked it, it was much better than what I was expecting from the trailers. Really happy I saw it despite them. I would sure love to meet some marketing ppl making those trailers to give them a piece of my mind…