The Punisher - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Punisher Reviews

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½ June 24, 2016
Just bad in almost every way
½ June 12, 2016
Bloody no bs 80's action flick with some great well choreographed action scenes.Faithful portrayal of the source material Dolph Lundgren fits the role of our psychologically disturbed anti hero Frank Castle quite well also some great dialogue between Jake and Castle makes this an enjoyable entertaining action ride.Storytelling is decent enough with some amazing one liners and Frank monologues,but limited as the movie is extremely fast paced.This movie is definitely not for pretentious hipsters and movie critics,but loyal Punisher fans will enjoy it I give this 7/10.
½ June 12, 2016
The 1989 Punisher movie has got some good elements in it but the delivery was downright atrocious. The execution is so unfocused that watching it is quite a pain. This explains why I fell asleep about 20 minutes towards the end of the show.
½ May 9, 2016
Dolph Lungren is humorously terrible as always. Not too bad for an 80's superhero movie, I guess.
½ April 27, 2016
Between the onslot of New Yorker accents and a serious lack of "skull" on Dolph Lundgren's chest, I was soon thinking that Max Payne would have been a better fit in Mark Goldblatt's adaptation, instead of a stoned Frank Castle. Although filled with gun slinging goodness, the story seemed to focus more on the crime lords story instead of the titular Punisher. But when he did appear you were still eager to see the bodies mount up.
½ March 18, 2016
Well it is pretty clear that the only people who were truly punished in this is everyone who took part in making this crappy movie. So this is Marvel's second attempt in making a mainstream comic book film, since the whimsical sci-fi comedy of Howard the Duck didn't quite float everyone's boat, the executive's must have said to each other "Hey, people like gratuitous violence AND we're still in the eighties! Let's make a comic book movie of the Punisher!" And sure enough that's what we get. The 1989 film about former police detective Frank Castle who goes on a one man killing spree for five years in Los Angeles after his family is murdered by a car bomb planted by the mob all the while having his former partner Jake Berkowitz, played by Louis Gossett Jr., trying to hunt him down. Everything in that last sentence is part of the plot, despite everything being highly inaccurate to the main comic book character, and yet it is not NEARLY as bad as Fant4stic. So what can I say about a low budget movie that was filmed in Australia and was given a worldwide theatrical release, except in the United States, Sweden, and South Africa while receiving negative reviews by everyone over the last twenty years? Quite a bit, actually.

Well every actor in here is either absolutely boring or one dimensional characters that are not really worth caring for. Every one of the actor's expositions are told by someone else in the most non interesting way. A lot of the side mafia goons in here only say things like "Fuck you, (insert racial slur here)" or every time the children talk it is poorly dubbed over by some other kid's audio. They focus more on the side characters and antagonist's rather than the Punisher himself and even then it is downright appalling. Dolph Lundgren gives one of the most uninteresting efforts in his acting career along with the least amount of dialogue. There are times where you can tell he just does not give a shit at all that he is in a movie and the lines that he delivers are just so robotic while coming off sounding a little Stallone-ish. The soundtrack in here is flat-out dull, especially 80's standards. The only credit that I can give it is the sheer amount of violence that they deliver which is okay at times. Overall, it doesn't help that this movie is just nothing more than a heaping pile of eighties. It is all the troupes and clichés of an action flick without even the slightest of the modicum of the depth of that genre. What's left is crazy, hammy, overplayed, and even at times completely nonsensical. The Punisher might have started as a comic book but this movie turned out to be more of a cartoon. Which is why in the end I give it a 1 and a half stars out of five.
January 11, 2016
This movie is hard to watch. Mostly because of Ivan Drago, but the poorly written script further expands the cheesyness and bad humor.
½ December 13, 2015
The much maligned early Marvel attempt to adapt one of their few hard edged characters (at the time) to film did not improve with age and does deserve it's reputation. However, there are some things that kind of work. Dolph Lundgren does look like The Punisher, even if he doesn't wear the trademark skull on this shirt. Louis Gossett Jr. is a great actor who for whatever reason seemed to appear in quite a bit of garbage like this. On the downside, the film's script, particularly a lot of dialogue seems awful, which is surprising since the film was written by Boaz Yakin, who wrote and directed some terrific films like "Fresh" and "A Price Above Rubies." But in Yakin's defense, I read on IMDB that the producers rewrote his script. The overall story seems like a solid comic book story; The Punisher is killing mob figures and the cops deny his existence, when the Yakuza comes to town looking to take over and kidnaps the children of the current mob power structure. The mob and the Punisher then team up to stop the female Yakuza crime lord. The film was directed by an ace action film editor Mark Goldblatt, who worked on films such as "The Terminator" "Rambo" and all the way up to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," but he falters here i his action sequences. They seem like they nicely fit together and I'm not sure if it was the poor photography or if it just didn't cut tougher, but most of the action sequences lack any kind of suspense. Overall, this really ins't a good film at all. It doesn't work for comic fans or for causal action film fans, so there really is no audience for this film outside of people interested in watching comic book misfired like the Roger Corman "Fantastic 4" or the 1970s TV movie version of "Captain America" or the 70s "The Amazing Spider-Man" TV series. Pretty weak stuff.
December 2, 2015
Not the worst marvel movie ever, has decent action and acting, but a really weak plot and bad effects
October 2, 2015
Stupid and unforgivingly dated... which makes it have its own charm.
September 22, 2015
The 2004 film was so much better. Dolph Lundgren looks bored and drunk in this movie and that alone just made it more hilarious to watch. This is one of those "it's so bad that it's kind of funny to watch". Not once did I feel bored while watching the movie, because the whole time I was laughing my ass off at the stupid shit in this movie.
½ August 4, 2015
Low on quality, high in entertainment, this version of the Punisher may overdo the action scenes but it's all fun. Lundgren plays the badass well, and while the other characters are underdeveloped, they're likable. Plus, they always show the gun reloading, what a treat. The ending is ultimately where the film falls flat though. Still, the rest can be a good time.
½ July 19, 2015
pretty good for back in the day and with low budget
May 17, 2015
As a kid I had this on Video and loved it.
April 18, 2015
The much weaker earlier movie edition of the popular comic strip.
April 8, 2015
Anybody who was looking for anything more than a low budge action flick with the wonderful B-Actor Dolph Lundgren should get a cat scan, stat. If you expected a B-Action movie and something loosely, we are talking extremely loosely based on a Marvel property, then your brain is just fine. In no way is this a good movie, but I love Dolph and I love Frank Castle and he makes a pretty good one. Too bad they wasted him in a shitty script with shitty direction. But I digress, I was expecting that. So I liked it.
February 18, 2015
Ridiculous, absurd, and shamelessly action-packed. This is every 80s action cliche wrapped into one neat little package. Dolph Lundgren has nothing to do here, but then again the material doesn't call for an actor with chops.
½ February 7, 2015
Though I never read The Punisher in my life, with Dolph Lundgren headlining the film I figured it couldn't be too bad.

Following the same formula as Danny Cannon's adaptation of Judge Dredd, The Punisher is reduced to being just another action vehicle for its star instead of doing anything with its character. I never familiarized myself with the source material, but neither did Mark Goldblatt when he directed The Punisher. In his last film to date as director, Mark Goldblatt establishes that his talent lies strictly in editing other films and not directing The Punisher.
For one thing, The Punisher has minimal to do with the titular character. The film gives no background to the character outside of around 10 seconds worth of random flashbacks to a car explosion which has subtle implications of loss and vengeance behind them. Nothing is actually clarified, and so Frank Castle spends the entire film under the identity of The Punisher. The film betrays the character by giving him no background and not giving viewers a chance for him to transition from his former identity into the sadistic and merciless killing machine he is known for. It is a paper thin adaptation of the comic series with nothing that respects its source material in the slightest. The film actually left me less than eager to read the comic series, and I don't think that anybody who has seen the film could blame me for saying that. To be frank, the film could not have less to do The Punisher in terms of narrative, and it adds nothing to his legacy by stripping away anything about the comic series solely so that it can pave the way for a poorly constructed Dolph Lundgren action vehicle.
The action sequences are way too tame. With the fight choreography being too slow and improvised as well as the cinematography and editing being shaky and repetitive during these scenes, The Punisher cannot even succeed as a guilty action pleasure of its own right, let alone a legitimate adaptation of the comic series. It is painfully ironic that director Mark Goldblatt would later earn an Academy Award nomination for his editing work on Terminator 2: Judgement Day when his actual directorial work on The Punisher ensured that the editing was terrible. If he had have done it himself then the film could have been a lot better, but with the weak cinematography capturing the poor choreography and overly dim lighting in the generic setting, there is nothing to look at.
One of the big problems with The Punisher is its shoddy production values. Built off a limited budget of a meagre $9 million, it looks no better than half the direct-to-video action films that Dolph Lundgren has featured in over his long and repetitive career. The action is shoddy, the premise is a ridiculous waste of a popular comic book character and the film is so poorly made that it is not even funny. Usually, films along these lines may have a sense of 80's nostalgia or a sense of value coming from the fact that the film is so bad that it's good. The Punisher instead defies both of these and remains a film so bad that it is terrible. It didn't even attempt to capture a high concept premise and just used the name of a popular comic series to tell a generic story about vengeance without any good violence or the slightest bit of tension. I didn't believe anything I saw in The Punisher, and half the time I couldn't believe that it would go so wrong. But with poor directorial work from Mark Goldblatt and a low budget, all the film does is try to be a ridiculously cheaply made cash grab which seems not to have worked well enough at all.
And though Dolph Lundgren was one of the key things attracting me to The Punisher, all I can say is that he was massively miscast. I thought that the grim and sadistic nature that Dolph Lundgren displayed as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV would transfer over into his characterization of Frank Castle in The Punisher. Instead, he just stands around with his muscles and black hair as he pulls the trigger on a gun which apparently hits his enemies in poorly choreographed action scenes. There is nothing for him to do in the role, and so he has no ass to kick and no character to work with. Instead of even trying to go for the sadistic darkness behind the character, Dolph Lundgren simply moves around slowly and says every word in the most generic manner. And unlike his performance as He-Man in Masters of the Universe, it is not even cheesy. Dolph Lundgren is just bad in The Punisher. He doesn't come off as being the slightest bit threatening, he just brings an emotionless hulk of a character to the role which doesn't even stand up to Sylvester Stallone's terrible performance as Marion "Cobra" Cobretti in his lacklustre action vehicle Cobra from 1986, three years prior to The Punisher. Dolph Lundgren is in poor form in The Punisher.
Academy Award winning actor Lou Gossett, Jr. can't even find anything to do. Though he manages to play the same basic authority figure type character in every film with a slight change each time, The Punisher shows him at some of his lowest by handing him a thin character and not challenging him in the slightest. He has no decent scenes and nothing to work with, and his screen time is minimalistic. He is a wasted gimmick.

So although The Punisher boasts the name of a popular comic book hero, it could not have less to do with the series and instead turns out to be just another low budget and cheaply constructed Dolph Lundgren action vehicle without any sense of value in terms of atmosphere or action which prevents it from even succeeding as a guilty action pleasure for fans with the lowest standards.
February 7, 2015
Bad but still better than the newer Punisher movies that came out in the 2000s which is a sad commentary on how lazy Hollywood writers have become.
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