‘The Punisher’ Review: Comic Book Movie a la The 80s

Posted in The Screening Room by - January 15, 2015

In the last few years, super hero films have become an important and profitable aspect of popular culture, but super hero movies have been produced in America since 1951 with Superman and The Mole Men. The Punisher has had three feature length motion pictures since then, the first of which starred Dolph Lundgren in his fourth film appearance, and was released in October of 1989. As with most movies made more than twenty years ago, the film shows its age, but the plot and the action are still entertaining.

In The Punisher, a sewer dwelling Frank Castle wages an endless war on organized crime to avenge the murder of his wife and two daughters. It’s been five years since the incident, and in that time Frank has killed 125 mobsters. The families, so decimated by Castle’s killing spree, decide to merge in order to maintain control of the city. Unfortunately the attempt fails when the Yakuza comes to the city in order to exploit the mob’s weakened state. The Punisher has to step in when the lives of innocent children are threatened by the escalating crime war. Watching the hulking Dolph Lundgren woodenly punch and shoot his way through ninjas, samurai, gangsters is a thoroughly captivating experience.

Aesthetically the film is an eye catching piece of work. Fast paced cuts in the action scenes, an unexpectedly diverse use of lighting effects, and more explosions than your typical Michael Bay feature all help to make the movie an enjoyable way to kill time. The sound track is made of uninspired instrumental compilations that are difficult to hear over the gunfire. The acting is mildly expressive at best, and the dialogue is as engrossing as that of any other 80’s action flick I’ve ever seen.

All in all I would say that The Punisher is an interesting film to watch, an entertaining example of action films from a bygone era of cinema, and an excellent movie to watch to pass an evening away. It’s also an interesting comparison to the modern day super hero films such as The Avengers or Iron man. Seeing how the world has changed its perception of the super hero is an intriguing depiction of the way popular culture changes over time. If you like old action flicks, comic books, and Dolph Lundgren, you’ll enjoy The Punisher.

Final Say: Watch It

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Born in Arizona, he currently resides in Denton, Texas. When he isn't watching movies he's playing board games and drinking whatever he can get his hands on. John watches Djimon Honsou movies because he likes Spawn, which had Michael Jai White.
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