Home Entertainment | Review by Dan Taylor
live-action comic book saw new life via
video after being shelved due to New World
Pictures' financial difficulties.
Based on the popular Marvel
Comics character, THE PUNISHER stars Dolph
Lundgren (our favorite muscle-bound Euro-trash
action star), Louis Gossett, Jr., Kim Mayori,
a slummin' Jeroen Krabbe, and a host of
stereotypically greasy Italian and unscrupulous
Instead of structuring the
flick like the typical "origin"
story, THE PUNISHER starts out five years
into the character's existence, as the crime
boss responsible for police officer Frank
Castle's transformation into the black-clad
vigilante is being released from the big
house. In a rousing first 15 minutes, Mr.
P (as his snitch refers to him) lays waste
to the crime lord and his henchmen with
much gunfire, many explosives and several
With the return from Italy
of new crime boss Gianni Franco (Krabbe),
the film begins to take some fun twists
and turns that make it far more watchable
than most of the other action-dreck being
foisted upon us.
While attempting to bring
the rival families together as one big syndicate,
Franco raises the interest of the Yakuza,
who come in with takeover on their minds.
Hmmm, maybe THE PUNISHER is a simply a cautionary
tale of American consumerism and its succeptability
to the evil, drooling Jap empire. Whether
it is or not, the Yakuza's powerplay turns
out to be a bad career move, and the gang
war brings the Punisher back into the fray...all
to the rat-a-tat-tat of bullets galore!
Structured, shot and acted
like a live-action comic book, THE PUNISHER
succeeds in all the areas were BATMAN failed
so miserably. Yes...we know that the character
has been indelibly scarred by the loss of
his family. Yes...we know that the violence
he inflicts only perpetuates more violence.
Yes...we know that riding a motorcycle without
a helmet is dangerous. However, it is
a fucking comic book, and I'd rather leave
the philosophizing to Voltaire and Ghost
THE PUNISHER -- despite what
you may have heard to the contrary -- is
a fun flick with enough acts of ridiculous
violence to keep you interested.