Friday, November 2, 2012

The Punisher (2004) Review:

Besides Ghost Rider, The Punisher is another one of my favorite Marvel characters in particular. I liked almost everything about it except for some minor areas. Like most superhero or anti-hero characters, the
background of The Punisher is a tragic story. It is the piece of the title role's life that is taken away from them that makes them who we know them as now. Peter Parker loses his uncle (Spiderman), Johnny
Blaze loses his father (Ghost Rider), and for Frank Castle's case; his entire family (The Punisher).

Thomas Jane as Frank Castle (The Punisher)
Frank Castle (Thomas Jane), is a well renowned FBI agent. Unfortunately, things go awry when his family gets caught in the cross-hairs of his job and are slain right before his eyes. It is from there that Frank Castle becomes The Punisher. However, I would like to know how a group of gunmen find the EXACT whereabouts of Castle and his family and are able to creep up on them, UNDETECTED, and get away with several murders.

Pam Dixon's choice to cast Jane as Frank Castle was an accurate decision. Dixon, who also was in charge of casting for The Mask of Zorro (1998) and Tremors (1990) seems to really have a knack for picking the right actors for each character role. Jane's grungy voice makes The Punisher sound like he really has no remorse for anyone or anything. Also Jane's ability to make Castle seem like he has an endless amount of firepower is just too good to watch.

Mrs. & Mr. Saint (Laura Harring & John Travolta)
The selfish mobster who has Castle's family killed was by Howard Saint, played by John Travolta. Travolta plays the character of Howard Saint fairly well. However, I think Travolta could've been much more sinister with his character, but he never takes it in that direction. On a side note I like to say that even though I knew that Castle's family was going to do die, I never thought I would feel so much emotion when it occurred. I really felt bad for Jane's character when he was rushing to save his wife and son.

As stated before, The Punisher's arsenal is wicked. Nothing but the best here. This makes the action sequences a lot of fun to watch. I loved how director Jonathan Hensleigh filmed the driving sequences, much of it was almost out of control and I was surprised the actors didn't fall out of the cars! I also loved the noises that were made whenever The Punisher was loading all his weapons; what fun! Yet somehow, at the end of the film I felt like I didn't get my eye-full's worth and that disappointed me.

A few other things I didn't seem to understand was that actors need to be louder when they talk and some of Howard Saint's emotional moments. At first, I didn't understand the random cameo of Mark Collie as Harry Heck. He pops into a diner to sing Castle a song, almost like he pities his pain,...just to show up in the next scene trying to kill him. Um what? What did we accomplish here? Turned out I missed a significant line by one of Saint's henchman saying they hired a man from Memphis to kill Castle because it was mentioned last minute in a specific scene with little to no defined moment.

I also wasn't fond of Castle making this huge plan of getting back at Howard Saint. I liked how he carried out his plan but it dragged. Seriously, for a character with a much darker personality, I was expecting something quite quick and brutal. Instead the audience experiences emotional moments where Saint confronts his issues with tears. The musical score by Carlo Siliotto was good though. The piano in the background really pulls on the heartstrings. Overall, it was decent, it just needed a few things tightened up.

Thomas Jane gives a great performance as Frank Castle but the fact that the plot drags can get a little tedious. Besides this though, the music and action sequences are a guilty pleasure.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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