Projections - Movie Reviews

The Punisher
The Punisher
Starring Thomas Jane, John Travolta, James Carpinello, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos,
Laura Harring, Will Patton, Ben Foster

If only the level of violence was reduced and the tone was lightened up a bit, this film based on Marvel Comics character The Punisher, could have been quite good.

Thomas Jane plays FBI agent Frank Castle. He’s about to retire, but as the film opens, he’s on the one last case. Undercover on a Florida gun buying sting, his fellow agents descend on the bad guys and when the shooting subsidies, the son of a notorious local mobster is dead.

The father is tough guy gangster named Mr. Saint (John Travolta) who launders money for the other bad guys. When he and his wife (Laura Harring) discover that Castle headed the FBI case that was responsible for his son’s death, he orders his henchmen to kill him, but his vindictive wife adds that she wants all of his family killed as well.

That added instruction is the basis for everything that follows. Frank’s family, including father, mother, cousins, wife and son are killed before his eyes by Saint’s men. His wife and son are killed in an especially horrible way, as they attempt to escape by Jeep, they are chased down and run over while crawling away from their car wreckage.

Tthat’s just the beginning of the brutality. Frank, after being shot, kicked and burned (we discover early on, that no one just tries to kill another by just one method), is saved by a local and recovers strength before returning to Florida to avenge his family.

He moves into an abandoned-looking building and sets out to go after Saint, his wife, his second son and all of his men. A tall order, but Frank is a man on a mission.

He refits his car with armor that pops up with the push of a button, outfits his broken down apartment with secret compartments that house grenades, knives and guns. He’s armed to the teeth and the war is on, and although Saint thought his men had originally killed Frank, he soon finds that he might need more help to get rid of Frank.

There’s more forms of violence and unique ways to kill and torture someone that I can remember ever seeing before. One of Saint’s men is described as being “sadistic,” but if you ask me, the entire cast of characters come under that category.

The one bright spot in a sea of brutality, is Frank’s neighbors. They are comprised of a trio of troubled, sad folks who reach out to Frank, seeing that he might fit in nicely with them. One man is an overweight cook who sings opera while cooking, the second is a shy type with multiple face piercings and the third is beautiful Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, who’s hiding out from an abusive ex-boyfriend.

The Punisher has all of the elements of a good thriller. The acting is good, the characters are interesting and the action is unending, but the terminally dark tone and brutal violence are just too much.

The Punisher

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