The Punisher

2004

The Punisher

Critics Consensus

A good cast fails to elevate this overly violent and by-the-numbers revenge flick.

29%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 169

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 268,105
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Movie Info

Frank Castle is a man who has seen too much death in his life, first as a Delta Force Op and later as an FBI special agent. He has managed to beat considerable odds, and is finally moving out of the field and into a normal life with him wife, Maria, and young son, Will. However, on his final assignment, the operation spins out of control and a young man, Bobby Saint, is inadvertently killed. This places the FBI on the wrong side of Tampa businessman Howard Saint, his wife Livia, and their underworld ties. Inflamed by the death of their son, the Saints are on a mission of blood vengeance. Frank's worst nightmare comes true when Howard Saint and his lieutenants unleash hell at the Castle family reunion. But Castle, to his everlasting torment, survives. Now, Frank Castle--the Punisher--views the world as one darkened by war, crime, cruelty, and injustice. He has no superpowers to battle the evil he sees, only his fierce intelligence, his years of combat experience and, above all, his iron determination to avenge those wronged by society's villains.

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Cast

Thomas Jane
as Frank Castle
John Travolta
as Howard Saint
James Carpinello
as John Saint/Bobby Saint
Laura Harring
as Livia Saint
Will Patton
as Quentin Glass
Ben Foster
as Spacker Dave
John Pinette
as Mr. Bumpo
Samantha Mathis
as Maria Castle
Roy Scheider
as Frank Castle Sr.
Mark Collie
as Harry Heck
Edward Jemison
as Nicky Duka
Kevin Nash
as The Russian
Eduardo Yanez
as Mike Toro
Omar Avila
as Joe Toro
Russell Andrews
as FBI Agent Jimmy Weeks
Marcus Johns
as Will Castle
Bonnie Johnson
as Betty Castle
Marco St. John
as Police Chief Morris
Eddie Jemison
as Nikki Duka
Russ Comegys
as Tattooed Mike
Jeff Chase
as Enforcer
Hank Stone
as Cutter
Tom Nowicki
as Lincoln
Steve Raulerson
as Yuri Astrov
Robin O'Dell
as Field Reporter
Veryl E. Jones
as Candelaria
Michael Reardon
as Toro Croupier
Yamil Piedra
as Toro Pit Boss
Jim Meskimen
as Accountant No.1
Jack Swanson
as Accountant No.2
Alan Lilly
as Accountant No.3
Carleth Keys
as Bay News 9 Newscaster
Sonny Surowiec
as Saint Puerto Rico Enforcer
Rick Elmhurst
as Bay News 9 Newscaster
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Critic Reviews for The Punisher

All Critics (169) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (120)

Audience Reviews for The Punisher

  • Oct 30, 2015
    Back before Marvel decided to take over the box office this film came along, It's not a well known comic plus he's not a superhero more an anti hero and after some poor reviews I didn't expect much but I must admit I enjoyed it, It's violent, Bloody, Simple revenge plot it could of been better if the film had a darker tone, The humour was ok but not needed, With a strong cast and some good action scenes it was an enjoyable film, Just a poor script and poor acting and silly mistakes dragged it down but it's still better than I thought and as good as it ever was going to be.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2014
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon13.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2013
    Every casting of The Punisher has been vastly different, Thomas Jane's portrayal of Frank Castle is quite good, he's smaller than the other two, but that's fine. Honestly I think Thomas Jane is a good addition to any film, a decision I made after watching him in The Punisher when I bought the DVD on a whim back in 2006. Much like it's 1989 predecessor, The Punisher is quite grounded in reality, the closest thing that they have to a larger than life villain is a muscular Russian who doesn't speak. It's not necessarily a good thing, as the film's meant to be about a comic book character. Speaking of comic books, this film is vastly different from the comics it is based on. It doesn't go in to effecting my final score of the film, but you have to be careful when you know you're gonna be pissing the fan boys off. Having said that, the fan boys were very pissed off about the Casting of Jane in the leas role, when in actual fact he's the best thing in the film, so maybe the fan boys should just shut the fuck up. It's not exactly anything we haven't seen before, in fact, much like the original Punisher it's more or less a carbon copy of Mad Max, right down to the suped-up armoured car. It has this interesting feel of a little bit serious thriller, a little bit Super Hero action and a little bit comedy, yet it fails to knock into any of t he three categories, and instead sort of sits around somewhere in the middle, not really doing a whole lot, which is one of the films weakest points. John Travolta was an interesting choice of villain. I can't decide whether I found him believable or not. He can pull off mobster fine but I don't know that I like the direction his character went in, or the character at all. The Punisher is just a sort of deal that needs to be dark, Travolta doesn't pull it off, the setting of Florida doesn't pull it off, a singing assassin doesn't pull it off, and the quirky kids-next-door-sidekicks don't pull it off. All that aside, there's not really anything that's strictly speaking bad about the film, in comparison to its one or two things that I would classify as good. I review this film independently from its franchise, particularly its comic book origins, and if I didn't I'd have to mark it as a complete failure. But if you go in there with no knowledge of The Punisher, or pretending you have no knowledge of The Punisher, it works pretty damn well as a stand alone action movie, more than it does a Super Hero film. 63% -Gimly
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 21, 2013
    First reboot for the franchise since the underrated Lundgren flick. Admittedly Lundgren had the physique for the role but wasn't a naturally dark haired man, so this time they chose...a naturally blonde haired guy??. The plot was based around a few Punisher story lines from the comic book world and is an origins plot line. So we start off by seeing 'Castle' as a regular guy and top undercover cop, we get all the family life guff and this does actually take up quite a bit of the film early on. At one point it does get a bit dull and I started to yearn for some action. The plot is also more of the Punisher fighting one group of bad guys, he's not a vigilante killing lots of bad guys, he fighting one particular group. At first I didn't like that but the finale clears it up so. When the action does hit so do the problems. First off the 'killing' of Castle, how the hell did the bad guys mess that up?!. Normally when someone is gonna get whacked they are shot in the head point blank, simple, but in this film its just stupid. The bad guys have Castle but shoot him in the chest?? not even in the heart but the other side! eh? surely you'd shoot him in the head??. They then pour gasoline over everything accept Castle and set it alight, so everything burns accept Castle, oh and then it all blows up. Castle then manages to survive for what seems like quite a long time before getting picked up. So he's shot point blank in the chest, survives a gasoline explosion point blank range and still lives on...after the bad guys fail to shoot him in the head and fail to burn him up. So that whole sequence fails in two ways then. This film has various issues that didn't sit well with me. Being set in Florida for one thing, the film seems quite bright and sunny all the time because of the location. It doesn't feel right for a dark character like this, its like shoving Batman in Hawaii, the action may still rock but the atmosphere just isn't right. Then there's the issue of Jane as the Punisher, again like Dolph he has the physique but he's blonde!! and all the time I'm thinking his hair looks dyed...because it was obviously. Its a minor quibble I guess but just like Dolph he hasn't got the stubble line either because he's fair haired, is it really that hard to find an actual dark haired man for this role??. So if you put the smaller issues aside what next? well nothing really happens in this. He gets killed off, then announces to the world he's actually not dead which ruins the whole point if you ask me, and then nothing happens!. We don't get any real revenge killing until the finale. He battles two assassins, one is a complete copy from the Rodriguez film 'Desperado' and the other kinda looks like a cross between 'The Sandman' and 'Zangief' out of 'Street Fighter II' and is dressed like a cartoon character. Admittedly the fight against the enormous Russian was quite good but that was it. There are too many sappy moments in here too, attempts at some humour which don't really fit and the characters who live with Castle are terrible. The bad guys again aren't really very memorable either, Travolta is kinda miscast as the main villain and merely comes across as his character from 'Swordfish' (and a few others). The only other bad guy of note would be Will Patton as Travolta's main sidekick, interesting touch making him homosexual but wasn't explored enough, fresh though. On the whole the bad guys were definitely bad enough but just totally bland and generic, unlike the 89 version this film didn't have the explosive fun action to get around that. The slaying of 'Saint' at the end was laughable, not only is there no guarantee he was actually killed (seeing as Castle managed to survive his ordeal), but the iconic skull motive left by all the burning wreckage was just plain dumb (and a 'Crow' rip off). What was the point of it?? no one would ever see it unless in a helicopter!. I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to actually do on the ground and take ages to arrange, when did he get the time??!! so stupid. The film finally comes to life in the finale as Castle finally takes down all the bad guys, the sequence is what you're waiting for the whole time. Had more of this happened throughout the film it may have been much better, but in general there are many bad decisions here which I just don't understand how they were agreed on.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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