Movie Reviews: The Punisher




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     Lions Gate Films (2 hr. 4 min.)
     Marvel Comics' deadliest anti-hero sets out to punish the criminals responsible for killing his family.
     Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Laura Elena Harring, Samantha Mathis
Bottom Line:

By Samantha Ofole

In this action packed thriller adapted from Marvel’s top-selling comic books, The Punisher does a remarkable job of combining humor and carnage. Tom Jane (Deep Blue Sea) stars as Frank Castle, the Punisher an undercover FBI agent out to avenge the death of his family – vigilante style. John Travolta plays Howard Saint the formidable villain who orders the gangland execution of Castle’s family and thus the showdown ensured is one of the main highlights of the flick.

Action sets in within the first twenty minutes of this gritty tale of revenge and redemption when Saint’s son Bobby is inadvertently killed during an undercover drug bust setup by Castle. In retaliation Saint orders the execution of Castle and his entire family which takes place gangland style during a family reunion in Puerto Rico. Castle although shot several times still manages to escape death returning five months later deeply scathed to brandish his own style of methodical justice. Taking up residence in a rundown apartment next to some rather colorful and hilarious characters, Joan (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) a waitress at the local diner and the overweight Mr. Bumpo played Ben Foster, he sets in motion a plan to eradicate the enemy. Complete with a customized vehicle and his dark shirt embossed with a scary white skull (a gift from his now deceased son) Castle’s mission is to completely destroy Saint through any means necessary.

The Punisher packs a splendid punch. With spectacular scenes of mayhem combined with sardonic humor the violence is staged with style and finesse. Littered with interesting caricatures such as the blond 6'10" mechanical Russian assassin, familiar Cuban drug lords and plenty of intense fight sequences it does extremely well in the entertainment factor brilliantly combining identifiable characters with an intense plot. There is to some degree a level of absurdity to this standard tale of a bad guy getting his own retribution, but overall it’s worth the ticket price and does well in setting the stage for a possible and much welcomed sequel. The Punisher is a perfect hero and villain combination.



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