Starring Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, Bryan Marshall, Nancy Everhard, Barry Otto, Brian Rooney, Zoshka Mizak, Kenji Yamaki, Hirofumi Kanayama
Directed by Mark Goldblatt
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
For the action movie fan, no decade delivers quite like the 1980s. Sometime in the ’90s, the fun withered away and died in a forgotten corner of Hollywood as filmmakers and audiences alike chose so-called realism over fun. But The Punisher is an exemplary ’80s action film, exhibiting everything the genre was well known for, and delivering nothing but fun throughout its entire runtime. It entertains consistently and completely, and when the credits rolled, a sense of testosterone-fueled accomplishment washed over me. I had made it out alive, through a sea of foul-mouthed mafiosos and a gauntlet of nameless foes with hidden knives, all without leaving my couch.
As you might expect, the story here is not the strong suit or the focus of the film. Frank Castle’s family was murdered by some asshole mobsters, so he took to the sewer to hone his skills. The past five years he’s racked up hundreds of kills, exacting his revenge his way, and making the city’s criminals’ lives miserable. Because this is a review, you also might expect me to cite why this threadbare story is the reason The Punisher is a failed movie, or some other such pretentious bullshit, but instead I offer the following hypothesis.