The Punisher - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Punisher Reviews

Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 25, 2007
There's something to be said for letting a comic book adaptation operate at the level of a comic book, dispensing cheap laughs and ice-cold sadism.
Top Critic

Time Out
February 9, 2006
Ultimately, Frank's victim -to-vigilante transformation is so morally unexplored it's emotionally alienating.
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 22, 2004
There isn't a moment in The Punisher that isn't borrowed or stolen from another movie.
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Benjamin Strong
Village Voice
April 21, 2004
Mismanages its greatest asset: an unusual embarrassment of camp riches.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
April 19, 2004
... a lot of fun.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
April 17, 2004
Gets us lost early in the first half-hour and never succeeds in completely luring us in.
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
April 16, 2004
The pleasure we take in [the Punisher's] inability to resist his basest instincts is like taking a bite of deliciously dark chocolate: probably bad for us, definitely bitter, but still sweet and stimulating.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
April 16, 2004
The graphic nature of the violence that makes The Punisher hard to recommend without serious caveats.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Mark Rahner
Seattle Times
April 16, 2004
This is an improvement over the unspeakable 1989 Punisher with Dolph Lundgren, but too often just seems like an unintentional parody.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
April 16, 2004
An entertaining, if silly, film adaptation of the Marvel comic.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
April 16, 2004
It may be pulp, but at least it's good solid pulp.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
April 16, 2004
For those who can stomach two hours of brain-dead brutality, the film has more laughs than most comedies.
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
April 16, 2004
Tom Jane is a great-looking Punisher, darkly handsome and chiseled, even if the movie goes nowhere with the character.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
April 16, 2004
An uneven yet workable mix of deft humor, slam-bang action and colorful pulp-novel punch.
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
April 16, 2004
A flatline affair from beginning to end, The Punisher is painfully dull, offering no characters, actions, scenes or special effects of note.
| Original Score: D
Top Critic
Michael Booth
Denver Post
April 16, 2004
Hensleigh, co-writer with Michael France, makes the paint-by-numbers of organized-crime movies look fresh by tapping good actors and sleek camera work.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 16, 2004
The Punisher is so grim and cheerless, you wonder if even its hero gets any satisfaction from his accomplishments.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 16, 2004
Thrill-less garbage that aspires to franchisehood.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
April 16, 2004
The Punisher doesn't rise to the top of an ever-growing, comic-book movie heap.
| Original Score: C
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
April 16, 2004
A movie as one-dimensional as its antihero.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
April 16, 2004
An overemphatic revenge fantasy devoid of even a trace of excitement or wit.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
April 16, 2004
This whole movie seems to be a cry for help -- or I should say, punishment.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
April 16, 2004
Thomas Jane is just wooden and buff enough to pull off the role.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Von Doviak
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
April 16, 2004
This franchise is already out of ammo.
Top Critic
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
April 15, 2004
Travolta is terrific as a bad guy, making Saint almost sympathetic. His co-stars however, flounder in a sea of bad lines, with poor Romijn-Stamos getting stuck with the worst.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joe Leydon
Variety
April 15, 2004
Pic plays like a paint-by-numbers pilot for bygone basic-cable teleseries.
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
April 15, 2004
Trashy and disturbingly violent yet fairly zippy and amusingly cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
April 15, 2004
A sickeningly manipulative, by-the-numbers revenge movie.
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
April 15, 2004
Its lack of subtlety is clearly a point of pride, and Mr. Hensleigh's flat-footed, hard-punching style has a blunt ferocity that makes Kill Bill look like In the Bedroom.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Gary Dowell
Dallas Morning News
April 15, 2004
For an action movie written and directed by a guy who has written a lot of lively flicks, The Punisher is surprisingly inactive, full of long, slow stretches punctuated by perfunctory car chases, shoot-outs and-or fist fights.
Full Review | Original Score: D+
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
April 15, 2004
A ridiculously violent revenge story with no redeeming value.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
April 15, 2004
By the end, the Punisher's greatest adversaries emerge as an unwelcome trio known as jokey, hokey and hammy.
Top Critic
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
April 15, 2004
No, The Punisher isn't pretty. But, like its low-rent superhero, it gets the job done and then some.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
David Hiltbrand
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 15, 2004
For such a formulaic vigilante film, The Punisher has a far better cast than it deserves.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
April 15, 2004
[Hensleigh's] trying to pack in too much and the density clogs the narrative machinery.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 15, 2004
In this by-the-numbers payback melodrama, even the explosions seem half-hearted.
Full Review | Original Score: .5/4
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
April 15, 2004
Hensleigh wants to make a hard-ass, old-school vigilante drama la Death Wish, but there's no visceral charge to his bloodletting, or any sense that what Castle is doing is really for the betterment of society.
Top Critic
Robert K. Elder
Chicago Tribune
April 15, 2004
In a case study of how to screw up a simple, powerful revenge story, director Jonathan Hensleigh punishes audiences with an unbearably sluggish action movie that requires the word 'action' to be placed in quotes.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
April 15, 2004
The ad for it claims, The Punishment Begins April 16. And boy, does it. About 1 hour, 59 minutes worth of punishment.
| Original Score: D
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 15, 2004
Think of what might happen if someone grafted parts of Batman and Robin onto The Crow, and you'll have an idea of how unpalatable The Punisher is.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
April 15, 2004
A revenge scenario so simple it could have been created on a playground.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
April 14, 2004
A moronically inept and tedious piece of death-wish trash.
Full Review | Original Score: D-
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 8, 2004
Laudably exposes the dark core of the human heart.
| Original Score: 3/4