The Punisher (2004)

Genre(s): Action / Thriller
Lions Gate || R - 124 minutes - $14.98 || September 7, 2004
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2004-08-29


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Writer(s): Jonathan Hensleigh (written by) and Michael France (written by)
Cast: Tom Jane, John Travolta, Laura Harring, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Will Patton


Theatrical Release Date: April 16, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director Commentary
  • "War Journal" Making-Of Featurette
  • "Army of One" Featurette
  • "Drawing Blood" Interview with Tim Bradstreet
  • "Keeping it Real" Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Music Video
  • Sneak Peek at "The Punisher" Video Game


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

After seeing some of the trailers and other promotional material, I decided to skip seeing The Punisher and wait for DVD. I can say that while I'm glad I didn't spend the money at the theater, I wasn't quite disappointed either.

The Punisher, about a man named Frank Castle (Jane) whose entire family is wiped out by Howard Saint (Travolta) -- who blames Castle for the death of his son. Left for dead, Castle recovers and goes out to exact revenge and punishment on Saint and his crew and family (which includes Patton as Quentin Glass and Laura Harring as Livia Saint). While living in a dump apartment in Tampa Bay (an interesting locale choice by the filmmakers, which will be explained later), Castle meets three tenents who, of course, are excentric in some ways. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (appearing as a regular human in this comic adaptation), Ben Foster ("Six Feet Under") and John Pinette (a stand-up comic) play the usual characters that our fearless hero encounters and who also ground him in reality before he goes too far deep in his quest for punishment.

After watching the movie, I can't say that Tom Jane was the best for the role -- according to IMDb the role was offered to Hugh Jackman who turned it down since he was going to film Van Helsing -- but all in all, he does a good job with a role of a hero that has no problem in blowing up people. In another actor's hands, the audience might've turned against him.

Overall, The Punisher is at least a decent revenge/action yarn that is worth at least one look. At this point, I don't know if I really want to watch it again, but who knows. . . perhaps one boring, lazy night I may pop in this disc just to have a good, thoughtless time.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

For a one disc set, The Punisher offers a good amount of features (all things considered). First off, is the commentary from director Jonathan Hensleigh, who takes the listener through of why some shots were used, why this or that storyline was cut, etc. The answer to most of these things were blamed on budgetary reasons (which I believe since this film only cost $30m). He also mentions a few items that movie critics did not like, such as the timing of some of the comedic scenes, but Hensleigh instead of taking on their complaints, just passes it off and doesn't defend it. Anyways, for a director-only commentary, it was half-way decent to listen to.

Next are four featurettes, each running between 15 and 30 minutes. "War Journal" is the typical "making of" featurette with interviews with the cast and filmmakers. It's nothing all to original, but still at least interesting to watch. Next, "Army of One" goes over the history of "The Punisher" comic book featuring interviews with different people within the Marvel Comics enterprise, as well as current artists and writers with the "Punisher" comic book, which leads me to the next featurette. "Drawing Blood" has an interview with "Punisher" artist Tim Bradstreet, who was also hired on to create the artwork for the Punisher posters and other promotional material. Last (or first in the special feature section) is "Keeping it Real" which goes over the stuntwork for The Punisher (like the bridge jump). Somewhat interesting feature but not for the footage, but in this one, director Hensleigh makes it a point that he hates these new movies that use CGI, yet at the end of his commentary he admits that some of the scenes at the end used CGO. . . hmmm.

The DVD also includes two deleted scenes that were of little consequence to the final product, however, I would've appreciated if they could've included the scenes that dealt with the scrapped deleted plotline (which makes me wonder if they're planning an unrated edition at a later date. . .). Two other features of no interest to me were a sneak peek of The Punisher video game and a music video by Drowning Pool.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The sound and picture were both great with the loud explosions coming through nicely enough to wake up anyone in the vicinity and the picture, although not perfect, were still good showing the gritty realism that the filmmaker was going for.



.::OVERALL::.

I was surprised about much I actually liked the film. No, it's not on the level of any of the recent comic book movies, but as a tale of revenge, it's an enjoyable film. In a few years, I don't know how much people will want to watch it, but for now, it's a good romp.