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C'mon Hollywood: Why can't you get The Punisher right?

Apr. 3, 2012by: Paul Shirey

Created in 1974 as a psychopathic anti-hero in the pages of Spider-Man, The Punisher, aka Frank Castle, grew to become the most popular gun-toting vigilante in all of comicdom. The popularity of The Punisher caught like wildfire in the 80’s and 90’s, causing movie studios to take note. He was the epitome of “badass motherf*cker” amongst fans and was ripe for transition to the big screen.

The first to adapt was New World Pictures, who hired Dolph Lundgren to fill the boots of THE PUNISHER, but pretty much in name only. The film was a B-movie tragedy, one where the filmmakers simply didn’t realize what they had. This is before the Internet, so fans’ voices were mostly unheard. I imagine the film would have even less love if it were made with the same “creative” choices today. No skull, no integrity to his origin, and lots of karate. Some see it as a fun little piece of schlock and I’d agree, but not when it tries to call itself an adaptation of The Punisher.

The Punisher as he appeared in the 1970's.

In 2004, Jonathan Hensleigh was hired to adapt the property and hopes began to perk up. Thomas Jane came onboard as the titular character and the first stills of him in costume made me cautiously optimistic. Then, the turd hit the water and the truth was out; THE PUNISHER was shit. Boring, disjointed, and yet another major deviation from the source material, the film attempted to steal a few panels from the comics and call it good. The action was almost non-existent and uninspired and the lead villain played by John Travolta was a snooze.

Then, in 2008, Marvel rolled the dice again on the character, hoping to solidify a franchise for the character and give him a proper outing. Director Lexi Alexander (GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS) was hired to amp up the action and effectively reboot the character, this time with Ray Stevenson in the role of Castle. With the promise of a “hard R” and a faithfulness to the comics, particularly writer Garth Ennis’ seminal run on the book, fans once again lifted their eyebrows in the hope that the mistakes of the past would be put to rest.

Dolph Lundgren's skull-less Punisher featured lots of martial arts and shitty dialogue.

Instead, we got PUNISHER WAR ZONE, a hybrid of the 1989 and 2004 films, mashed up like rolls of celluloid play dough and run through a projector. If I had no visibility of the character I might liken it to something that’s cheesy fun, along the lines of GAMER or NINJA ASSASSIN, but having read 90 percent of all the Punisher comics, I know that the potential is far more vast and interesting than the bed pan soft serve we’ve been given in three adaptations. 

And now a TV series for The Punisher being created, this time with him as a cop moonlighting as a vigilante. I have a permanent scar on my forehead from the smack I gave myself after reading that.

Thomas Jane in 2004's The Punisher looked the part, but looks certainly aren't everything as this version proved.

So what’s the problem, Hollywood? The Punisher is the easiest character to get right! It’s real simple: The Punisher is a killer. He’s not looking for redemption as you so vehemently want. He’s not Forest F*cking Gump. He’s John Rambo. He wants to kill as many criminals as he can possibly kill before he’s snuffed out himself. THAT’S IT.

Frank Castle’s simplicity is what makes him so compelling. He was a Marine who returned home a broken man and lost his family to criminals before he could get his shit together and find his place in the world. So, he did what he’d done so well before; he waged war.

Ray Stevenson as the titular character in 2008's hokey Punisher War Zone.

And then there’s the issue of the skull. Castle uses the skull not only as a symbol but as a bulls eye. The skull serves two purposes: instill fear and attract bullets away from his head. Why is that so hard to grasp? Would you take away Superman’s “S” or Batman’s bat symbol or Captain America’s star? No, because that would be stupid, yet all his incarnations work tirelessly to see him without it. And what’s with the ever-changing origin? He’s a cop, he’s an FBI agent, etc. The Punisher’s persona is built upon his experience in war, not his frustration with locking up criminals. That’s never been his dilemma. EVER.

If you’re going to continue to pursue transitioning the character to the big screen, here’s the deal: Keep it simple. Get a screenwriter who can understand that The Punisher merely wants to accomplish his mission, not change his life. Get a filmmaker that knows action. Joe Carnahan: F*ck a DEATHWISH remake. Get Frank Grillo in costume, have William Monahan write a script, and get to shooting.

The Punisher should be ugly, gritty, bloody, and unredeemable. Let the character BE and I guarantee fans and non-fans alike will rejoice at seeing a true bad ass that’s been built up by so many great creators over the years finally make a proper entrance into the world of film. The only redemption The Punisher needs is for the last three incarnations Hollywood has made him suffer through.

Modern Day Punisher in all his ass-kicking glory.

Extra Tidbit: All right, let's talk a creative team here: Scorsese and DeNiro? Nolan and Bale? Eastwood and Eastwood? Chu and Beiber? Anderson and Schwartzman? Let's hear a winning combo, damnit!
Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
3:22PM on 04/03/2012

all I want

is for them to bring back Tom Jane and co and make a sequel to that movie, because it rocked. Shame a sequel never worked out (and at this point probably never will), damn...
is for them to bring back Tom Jane and co and make a sequel to that movie, because it rocked. Shame a sequel never worked out (and at this point probably never will), damn...
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10:33AM on 04/04/2012
Who's rating him so highly? He's barely mentioned. It seems like you are using the term "overrated" wrong.
Who's rating him so highly? He's barely mentioned. It seems like you are using the term "overrated" wrong.
11:31PM on 04/03/2012
Thomas Jane overrated? MY ASS! He is SO underrated. The guy can never seem to catch a break.
Thomas Jane overrated? MY ASS! He is SO underrated. The guy can never seem to catch a break.
6:01PM on 04/03/2012
Fuck Tom Jane, he's overrated.
Fuck Tom Jane, he's overrated.
3:45PM on 04/03/2012
That version is one of the worst action films I have ever witnessed.
That version is one of the worst action films I have ever witnessed.
3:34PM on 04/03/2012
repost. sorry
repost. sorry
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+17
3:35PM on 04/03/2012

Extra Tidbit

Thomas Jane and Frank Darabont
Thomas Jane and Frank Darabont
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3:40PM on 04/03/2012
They got the basic concept right back in the seventies. It was called Death Wish.
They got the basic concept right back in the seventies. It was called Death Wish.
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3:42PM on 04/03/2012
I honestly think the newest comic series has been one of the best Punisher stories, and Castle is barely in it.
I honestly think the newest comic series has been one of the best Punisher stories, and Castle is barely in it.
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3:47PM on 04/03/2012
While I agree no movie version has got it entirely, and the first two attempts are hilariously awful, "Warzone" got lots right.
While I agree no movie version has got it entirely, and the first two attempts are hilariously awful, "Warzone" got lots right.
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6:30PM on 04/03/2012
"I waaant muiy aape-le sooauce byack!" -- I would totally agree with you if not for the f*cktard that was Doug Hutchison's character. Even ignoring all the other problems with the film, Loony Bin Jim's horribly overdone accent single-handedly ruined that movie for me.
"I waaant muiy aape-le sooauce byack!" -- I would totally agree with you if not for the f*cktard that was Doug Hutchison's character. Even ignoring all the other problems with the film, Loony Bin Jim's horribly overdone accent single-handedly ruined that movie for me.
3:51PM on 04/03/2012
The last two movies had some fun moments, but nothing that is true Punisher. They got some of his violence right in War Zone, but the OTT villain ruined the movie for me. I love Jane and Stevenson, but they lacked what the Punisher was all about.
Until they hire a writer/director who is familiar with the source, they will continue to struggle to get it right.
The last two movies had some fun moments, but nothing that is true Punisher. They got some of his violence right in War Zone, but the OTT villain ruined the movie for me. I love Jane and Stevenson, but they lacked what the Punisher was all about.
Until they hire a writer/director who is familiar with the source, they will continue to struggle to get it right.
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3:57PM on 04/03/2012

MAN ON FIRE...

Is (almost) everything a great Punisher movie should be.
Is (almost) everything a great Punisher movie should be.
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+31
3:57PM on 04/03/2012

MAN ON FIRE...

Is (almost) everything a great Punisher movie should be.
Is (almost) everything a great Punisher movie should be.
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4:36PM on 04/03/2012
Matthew Vaughn to Direct and Joel Edgerton/Jon Hamm as the Punisher
Matthew Vaughn to Direct and Joel Edgerton/Jon Hamm as the Punisher
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4:41PM on 04/03/2012

I dug War Zone

although jigsaw was waaaaaaaaaaay over the top, and Doug "Brutha" Hutchinson bouncing off the effin' walls drove me nuts. I had no issue with Stevenson (or Jane, really...HE was fine, everything else blew) Gotta admit, though, LOVE the Frank Grillo idea. I'd say Grillo and Walter Hill...and enough with the t shirt and duster bullshit. The guy was a Marine with special forces training for Christ's sake. He would be using modern black tactical gear with the skull painted on.
although jigsaw was waaaaaaaaaaay over the top, and Doug "Brutha" Hutchinson bouncing off the effin' walls drove me nuts. I had no issue with Stevenson (or Jane, really...HE was fine, everything else blew) Gotta admit, though, LOVE the Frank Grillo idea. I'd say Grillo and Walter Hill...and enough with the t shirt and duster bullshit. The guy was a Marine with special forces training for Christ's sake. He would be using modern black tactical gear with the skull painted on.
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5:57PM on 04/03/2012
I've come to the painful conclusion that he's just not translatable to the screen. A film requires a name-brand star, none of whom really fit the description or personality of the Punisher and because of the myriad of action films/vigilante characters the Punisher just isn't as palpable as we want him to be. He's just another dude with a gun in today's world. What made him so amazing in the 80's has rendered him faceless in the crowd today.
I've come to the painful conclusion that he's just not translatable to the screen. A film requires a name-brand star, none of whom really fit the description or personality of the Punisher and because of the myriad of action films/vigilante characters the Punisher just isn't as palpable as we want him to be. He's just another dude with a gun in today's world. What made him so amazing in the 80's has rendered him faceless in the crowd today.
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7:18PM on 04/03/2012
Sometimes I wonder if all these "hard core, been reading Punisher since the 70s" fans actually READ the Punisher. Yes, the Punisher is balls-to-the-wall action, but he was never a "kick in the door, shoot everything he sees" maniac like every one of these articles seems to suggest. He is a tactician who plans his missions. He has gone undercover within the mob multiple times to eliminate his targets. He has manipulated his enemies into eliminating each other. He has plenty of redemptive
Sometimes I wonder if all these "hard core, been reading Punisher since the 70s" fans actually READ the Punisher. Yes, the Punisher is balls-to-the-wall action, but he was never a "kick in the door, shoot everything he sees" maniac like every one of these articles seems to suggest. He is a tactician who plans his missions. He has gone undercover within the mob multiple times to eliminate his targets. He has manipulated his enemies into eliminating each other. He has plenty of redemptive storyarcs, that never seem to take, but still, they're there. And like any comic "hero" he has a rogues gallery. The Tom Jane movie was the closest in terms of how the character actually is and operates, and only really screwed up the origin. Personally, I'd prefer to see 'Born' translated to film and then go from there. 'Barracuda', also. I would say 'Welcome Back, Frank' but they already attempted that.
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10:52PM on 04/03/2012
I think your confusing the redemption quality. The Punisher may save a few people here and there and will go out of his way to avoid innocents, but that's always been his mission statement. The main thing is that he stays who he is. Unflinching, unwavering, always The Punisher. He doesn't second guess himself. In most stories, the thing we look for is the turning point, the change, the shift where the protagonist becomes something more than what he started out as. For The Punisher, the
I think your confusing the redemption quality. The Punisher may save a few people here and there and will go out of his way to avoid innocents, but that's always been his mission statement. The main thing is that he stays who he is. Unflinching, unwavering, always The Punisher. He doesn't second guess himself. In most stories, the thing we look for is the turning point, the change, the shift where the protagonist becomes something more than what he started out as. For The Punisher, the reverse applies.

I have no desire to see a blood and guts bulletfest with no story. War Zone already accomplished that.

What I want is a Punisher film that lives up to the true origins and actions of the character. I'd like to see someone adapt one of the stories from his massive library, such as Return to Big Nothing or the aforementioned Up is Down, Black is White, rather than pluck little tidbits and mash it up into some shoot-em-up bloodbath. Anyone that desires that from The Punisher doesn't really know the character. There are a lot of fans who have never picked up the book and know him only from the movies or peripheral media.

Those of us who have stuck with the character through thick and thin, up to and including some of the most asinine stories (Frank turns black, Frank becomes and angel, etc.).

Fortunately, Ennis came onboard and created the best incarnation of the character ever done. When filmmakers say that they are using his material for their shitty film (I'm lookin' at YOU War Zone) and calling it "integrity" they're basically pissing down your leg and saying it's raining.

I think we are of the same mind and want the same thing.
8:48PM on 04/03/2012
I'm not disagreeing with you on that, but every time I read this exact topic it seems that the writer tend to think that a Punisher movie should be nothing more than 2 hours of one man killing everyone he sees. 'Welcome Back, Frank', one of the most revered Punisher runs, and the basis of the Tom Jane movie, has strong redemptive themes, with Castle still continuing his mission. Redemption doesn't mean he stops being The Punisher, but shows he stills has humanity buried in there somewhere.
I'm not disagreeing with you on that, but every time I read this exact topic it seems that the writer tend to think that a Punisher movie should be nothing more than 2 hours of one man killing everyone he sees. 'Welcome Back, Frank', one of the most revered Punisher runs, and the basis of the Tom Jane movie, has strong redemptive themes, with Castle still continuing his mission. Redemption doesn't mean he stops being The Punisher, but shows he stills has humanity buried in there somewhere. If he doesn't care about what happens to Spacker Dave, he becomes no better than what he's waging war against. It has been shown multiple times that Castle is tired of the war, but keeps fighting because, as he sees it, no one else will. 'Suicide Run' showed this, from his fatigue with the war, to why he can't stop.

I want more from a Punisher movie, too... but I certainly don't want 2 hours of bullets and blood and no story. I don't need Jason Voorhees with a mini-gun.
7:57PM on 04/03/2012
There's a treasure trove of Punisher stories, particularly Garth Ennis' MAX run that are perfect for adaptation. Up is Down and Black is White is my personal favorite, but really any of them would do. And there are some great rogues in there, including Barracuda, Nicky Cavella, Rawlins, and the Man of Stone. In the end, out of all of those stories, the one thing that remains the same is Castle. He doesn't change. Even with all the bullshit tossed his way. And that's the great thing about
There's a treasure trove of Punisher stories, particularly Garth Ennis' MAX run that are perfect for adaptation. Up is Down and Black is White is my personal favorite, but really any of them would do. And there are some great rogues in there, including Barracuda, Nicky Cavella, Rawlins, and the Man of Stone. In the end, out of all of those stories, the one thing that remains the same is Castle. He doesn't change. Even with all the bullshit tossed his way. And that's the great thing about him. The redemption is built in and opportunity to care or love or give a shit comes his way and every single time he opts to continue the mission, unflinching. Hollywood doesn't accept this, because they believe that people must walk away from a movie with hope and inspiration, rather than an acceptance of what is.

I love Born, even though it's got a healthy does of Vietnam stereotypes tossed in there. Otherwise, a great mini series.
7:39PM on 04/03/2012
Lexi Alexander went on the "How Did This Get Made" podcast and talked at length about the process of making Punisher: War Zone. The majority of the story and action is directly lifted from the Punisher comics, and she often used existing Punisher comics as the storyboards. The problem with "War Zone" is that it IS faithful to the comics, and comics are often too over-the-top to work in a subtler medium.
Lexi Alexander went on the "How Did This Get Made" podcast and talked at length about the process of making Punisher: War Zone. The majority of the story and action is directly lifted from the Punisher comics, and she often used existing Punisher comics as the storyboards. The problem with "War Zone" is that it IS faithful to the comics, and comics are often too over-the-top to work in a subtler medium.
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12:19AM on 04/04/2012
Bullshit, she obviously didn't take it seriously. Looney Bin Jim, those goofy Irish Jamaican parkour wastes, and Jigsaw.And worst crime, wasting ray Stevenson and making the skull non existent. She obviously didn't get it.
Bullshit, she obviously didn't take it seriously. Looney Bin Jim, those goofy Irish Jamaican parkour wastes, and Jigsaw.And worst crime, wasting ray Stevenson and making the skull non existent. She obviously didn't get it.
8:06PM on 04/03/2012
Alexander lifted panels from different story arcs. Her choices were all over the map. I've read all the issues she supposedly shot "Sin City" style and let me tell you, it's not panel for panel.

It would be as if I were adapting a series of novels and plucked various chapters from all the books in the series and then cut and paste them in the order I wanted.

And then I'd invent random characters that never existed and implant them into the movie. That's how Alexander adapted it
Alexander lifted panels from different story arcs. Her choices were all over the map. I've read all the issues she supposedly shot "Sin City" style and let me tell you, it's not panel for panel.

It would be as if I were adapting a series of novels and plucked various chapters from all the books in the series and then cut and paste them in the order I wanted.

And then I'd invent random characters that never existed and implant them into the movie. That's how Alexander adapted it faithfully. She did a half-assed job. The Punisher, particularly the MAX storylines she used, are much more realistic than she portrayed. I think the true problem is the failure of those adapting the material to have the insight, vision, and ability to translate the material.
8:31PM on 04/03/2012

They can do TV if they actually did their research

As you stated, Frank is no hero nor does he claim to be one. He is a psychopath that we all root for. that said, I say that it is possible to transition him into television. If they ever made a TV series it would, HAVE to be on either HBO or Showtime, that is just a given. Follow the MAX series. Frank is an old man, doing this ever since the 70's when his family was murdered (that and PTSD from the war, GREAT)each season he'll be going after different bad guys (barracuda, jigsaw, etc) all the
As you stated, Frank is no hero nor does he claim to be one. He is a psychopath that we all root for. that said, I say that it is possible to transition him into television. If they ever made a TV series it would, HAVE to be on either HBO or Showtime, that is just a given. Follow the MAX series. Frank is an old man, doing this ever since the 70's when his family was murdered (that and PTSD from the war, GREAT)each season he'll be going after different bad guys (barracuda, jigsaw, etc) all the while we flashback into his origin, possibly a police interrogation scene. if anything for the sake of character development you could just show him slowing down more and more and introduce his love interest from the series...OK, I'm done lol.
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8:41PM on 04/03/2012

Thomas Janes Punisher in all honesty

Is one of my favorite films. Now is he THE "Punisher?" no no, they ruined that chance during the 2nd act. I thought it was a ballsy move having his ENTIRE family killed rather than just his nuclear family. they just dropped the ball after. I just see it as a revenge film.
Is one of my favorite films. Now is he THE "Punisher?" no no, they ruined that chance during the 2nd act. I thought it was a ballsy move having his ENTIRE family killed rather than just his nuclear family. they just dropped the ball after. I just see it as a revenge film.
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9:05PM on 04/03/2012
I wholeheartedly disagree that Punisher 2004 was shit. I love that film dearly, and it solidified Tom as one of my (if not very favorite) actors. Technically (rolls eyes) War Zone was really faithful to the comics but that movie is a mess save for a handful of really neat Punisher moments. The comics have had CONSISTENTLY good writing so the material is there. I do think it's kinda weird that P '04 was set in Florida but I still consider it to be one of my all time favorite comic book films,
I wholeheartedly disagree that Punisher 2004 was shit. I love that film dearly, and it solidified Tom as one of my (if not very favorite) actors. Technically (rolls eyes) War Zone was really faithful to the comics but that movie is a mess save for a handful of really neat Punisher moments. The comics have had CONSISTENTLY good writing so the material is there. I do think it's kinda weird that P '04 was set in Florida but I still consider it to be one of my all time favorite comic book films, and I know I'm not alone. To each their own, though.
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10:11PM on 04/03/2012

personally,

I actually enjoy all 3 existing Punisher movies. Do I think they are good Punisher movies? no. just fun movies. as much as I would love to see a perfect Punisher movie, I think they should just quit trying.
I actually enjoy all 3 existing Punisher movies. Do I think they are good Punisher movies? no. just fun movies. as much as I would love to see a perfect Punisher movie, I think they should just quit trying.
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10:38PM on 04/03/2012

Best sentence I've read in a JoBlo article in a while:

"Get a filmmaker that knows action. Joe Carnahan: F*ck a DEATHWISH remake. Get Frank Grillo in costume, have William Monahan write a script, and get to shooting."

Nuff said.
"Get a filmmaker that knows action. Joe Carnahan: F*ck a DEATHWISH remake. Get Frank Grillo in costume, have William Monahan write a script, and get to shooting."

Nuff said.
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11:28PM on 04/03/2012

perfect

This is probably the best article written on this website ever. I feel the exact way Verbatim. The simplest fucking comic character to adapt and everyone in Hollywood looks at it like retards. You want to make a good PUNISHER movie.. Slap a skull on Liam Neesons chest in TAKEN and BAM! You got yourself a great punisher film.. Ofcourse his origin has to be retooled to fit the Punisher but thats not hard.. Nuff Said
This is probably the best article written on this website ever. I feel the exact way Verbatim. The simplest fucking comic character to adapt and everyone in Hollywood looks at it like retards. You want to make a good PUNISHER movie.. Slap a skull on Liam Neesons chest in TAKEN and BAM! You got yourself a great punisher film.. Ofcourse his origin has to be retooled to fit the Punisher but thats not hard.. Nuff Said
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11:35PM on 04/03/2012
The Punisher with Thomas Jane was a good Punisher movie and I think easily the best one out of the three, with Thomas Jane being the best Frank Castle/The Punisher. I can see why people have problems with it and I can respect that, but to call it complete garbage is not true at all. I would love to have seen Jane come back and reprise the role because the first Punisher film did a great job of being a stand alone film and did a great job leading into a sequel.

I would rather have a new
The Punisher with Thomas Jane was a good Punisher movie and I think easily the best one out of the three, with Thomas Jane being the best Frank Castle/The Punisher. I can see why people have problems with it and I can respect that, but to call it complete garbage is not true at all. I would love to have seen Jane come back and reprise the role because the first Punisher film did a great job of being a stand alone film and did a great job leading into a sequel.

I would rather have a new Punisher movie with sequels than a television show. My pick for Frank Castle/Punisher would be either Jeffrey Dean Morgan or Jon Hamm.
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11:46PM on 04/03/2012
Paul Shirey deserves a raise. Spot on and hilarious. Great piece. As for the extra tidbit; Refn and Gosling seem capable.
Paul Shirey deserves a raise. Spot on and hilarious. Great piece. As for the extra tidbit; Refn and Gosling seem capable.
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11:47PM on 04/03/2012
I did think the Tom Jane PUNISHER was a good film, it just wasn't a good PUNISHER film.
I did think the Tom Jane PUNISHER was a good film, it just wasn't a good PUNISHER film.
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11:59PM on 04/03/2012
Agreed 100% I don't get why Hollywood can't get it's shit in line with this character. Hell, I say rework the show, recast Dolph, and have him wear the Kevlar skull as much as possible. Oh, and the villains shouldn't be out of Dick Tracy or Batfilms. They need to be heartless monsters that show the audience the Punisher is nessasary. No more "good" bad Guy crap. And do the slaughter of his family right, keep him a soldier, and make him be a walking Wrath of God.
Agreed 100% I don't get why Hollywood can't get it's shit in line with this character. Hell, I say rework the show, recast Dolph, and have him wear the Kevlar skull as much as possible. Oh, and the villains shouldn't be out of Dick Tracy or Batfilms. They need to be heartless monsters that show the audience the Punisher is nessasary. No more "good" bad Guy crap. And do the slaughter of his family right, keep him a soldier, and make him be a walking Wrath of God.
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1:53AM on 04/04/2012
The character is too simple and Hollywood egos are too big. The filmmakers want to make it their own, they can't just embrace the simplicity of the character.
The character is too simple and Hollywood egos are too big. The filmmakers want to make it their own, they can't just embrace the simplicity of the character.
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1:58AM on 04/04/2012
Also. Originally, John Woo should have been handed the reins to The Punisher and told "just pretend you are still in China."
Also. Originally, John Woo should have been handed the reins to The Punisher and told "just pretend you are still in China."
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2:47AM on 04/04/2012

The 89' Punisher

I still liked Dolph's Punisher the best. And before you get critical, I wanted to let it be known that there is an uncut version circulating around of this version. Even though it has many flaws, the way the story arc portrayed the Punisher lead character was done best on this version. Dolph was hulking and relentless killing machine. Even the damn cops were afraid of him. I remember watching this as a kid and wondered if the Punisher himself was a bad-guy. The police are dumb or non-existent
I still liked Dolph's Punisher the best. And before you get critical, I wanted to let it be known that there is an uncut version circulating around of this version. Even though it has many flaws, the way the story arc portrayed the Punisher lead character was done best on this version. Dolph was hulking and relentless killing machine. Even the damn cops were afraid of him. I remember watching this as a kid and wondered if the Punisher himself was a bad-guy. The police are dumb or non-existent in Tom Jane's and War Zone versions. The fact that Dolph barely said a few sentences the whole movie and allowed his actions speak louder was nicely done. This showed to me that the Punisher did not give a fuck about his well being or the innocents that get caught in middle. I am well aware of the downfall of this version which was the 3rd act.
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+7
3:17AM on 04/04/2012
I loved Punisher War Zone! I think out of the 3, it's by far the best! I loved the casting, the action, and soundtrack kicked ass!
I loved Punisher War Zone! I think out of the 3, it's by far the best! I loved the casting, the action, and soundtrack kicked ass!
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4:38AM on 04/04/2012

LET IT GO!

Much like Fair Game,Cobra,Ghost Rider,Daredevil,The Spirit, The Punisher movies must be left alone. Why? Some films aren't blessed enough to be in the big screen. Because we see many action heroes from Willis,Rock,Craig to Diesel kicking Ass and there is nothing special about it anymore. Before I get bombarded I would like to say that revenge films have the same cycles and end up in the same bin. Rambo was exceptional piece of film making but Faster,The Mechanic,Edge Of Darkness, Eden Lake and
Much like Fair Game,Cobra,Ghost Rider,Daredevil,The Spirit, The Punisher movies must be left alone. Why? Some films aren't blessed enough to be in the big screen. Because we see many action heroes from Willis,Rock,Craig to Diesel kicking Ass and there is nothing special about it anymore. Before I get bombarded I would like to say that revenge films have the same cycles and end up in the same bin. Rambo was exceptional piece of film making but Faster,The Mechanic,Edge Of Darkness, Eden Lake and Law Biding Citizen despite being fun have been ignored by public.

There is nothing special about The Punisher. Let it go.
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5:05AM on 04/04/2012
I liked the 2004 movie though it had it short coming and I enjoyed the heck out War Zone, though the over-top carnage nearly pushed it to unintentional comedy territory.

As for the Dolph Lundgren version i've yet to check it out.
I liked the 2004 movie though it had it short coming and I enjoyed the heck out War Zone, though the over-top carnage nearly pushed it to unintentional comedy territory.

As for the Dolph Lundgren version i've yet to check it out.
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+2
6:29AM on 04/04/2012
I agree. He has never been done justice. I've always striven to see a very dark vigilante piece that's violent and remorseful. Heck, the video game based on the movie was more violent and dark than any of these films. Punisher needs a good, dark, brooding character to play him in a faithful story that is dark and violent. Like you, I cannot understand why this is so hard to get right. They can do Spider-man, X-men, Thor, and Captain America, yet they can't do something as simple as The Punisher.
I agree. He has never been done justice. I've always striven to see a very dark vigilante piece that's violent and remorseful. Heck, the video game based on the movie was more violent and dark than any of these films. Punisher needs a good, dark, brooding character to play him in a faithful story that is dark and violent. Like you, I cannot understand why this is so hard to get right. They can do Spider-man, X-men, Thor, and Captain America, yet they can't do something as simple as The Punisher.
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8:43AM on 04/04/2012
Yeah! Why can't they get The Punisher right? The formula is there and the story is there. Personally I like Thomas Jane's Punisher best. He certainly got the role right. As for extra tidbit, Joe Carnahan & Liam Neeson. Len Weisman & Kate Beckinsale, Paul W.S. Anderson & Milla Jovovich.
Yeah! Why can't they get The Punisher right? The formula is there and the story is there. Personally I like Thomas Jane's Punisher best. He certainly got the role right. As for extra tidbit, Joe Carnahan & Liam Neeson. Len Weisman & Kate Beckinsale, Paul W.S. Anderson & Milla Jovovich.
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+4
8:51AM on 04/04/2012
I saw Lundgren's Punisher at the time of release...and I guess had it not been called Punisher...I may have thought I was just watching a generic action movie...but I recall it being good. Perhaps if I watch it now (I'm 35) I'll see the flaws...but I'd rather remember the enjoyment I got from it at the time. He was tall, dark, built, brooding, kicked ass and killed without hesitation - what's not to like about this. Standout points for me was the gang war between the American and Japanese
I saw Lundgren's Punisher at the time of release...and I guess had it not been called Punisher...I may have thought I was just watching a generic action movie...but I recall it being good. Perhaps if I watch it now (I'm 35) I'll see the flaws...but I'd rather remember the enjoyment I got from it at the time. He was tall, dark, built, brooding, kicked ass and killed without hesitation - what's not to like about this. Standout points for me was the gang war between the American and Japanese gangs and what Lundgren says to the son of the American's gang leader...after having killed his father. Good stuff. As for the 2 later incarnations, I thought War Zone was better than Jane's version...though Jane's version had a kick ass origin massacre (of his family). One thing more I'd like to add about Jane's movie...it got blown out of the water by Man on Fire that was released around the same time...and would be the best Punisher movie of them all...had it been called Punisher!
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11:37AM on 04/04/2012

Let The Punisher Go

I like the asskicking of Punisher as much as the next guy, and truth be told, I more or less liked 2004 Punisher for what it was: a straight forward revenge flick. But in my openion, if a character gets THREE incarnations and STILL couldn't make it work, it just doesn't deserve a fourth or fifth break. Not when literally hundreds of badass comicbook characters are waiting for their turns. Give a chance to Luke Cage or Black Planther or Captain Marvel. Hell, even The Phantom or Daredevil
I like the asskicking of Punisher as much as the next guy, and truth be told, I more or less liked 2004 Punisher for what it was: a straight forward revenge flick. But in my openion, if a character gets THREE incarnations and STILL couldn't make it work, it just doesn't deserve a fourth or fifth break. Not when literally hundreds of badass comicbook characters are waiting for their turns. Give a chance to Luke Cage or Black Planther or Captain Marvel. Hell, even The Phantom or Daredevil deserves a second chance I think. Maybe after 10-20 years we can have a Batman type reboot of Punisher, but drop it for now.
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+4
12:46PM on 04/04/2012
I really enjoyed War Zone for the over the top violence, Ray Stevenson looked like a Tim Bradstreet drawing and I even liked his skull painted vest. However the villains were a bit over the top, hated Dominic West's accent.
I really enjoyed War Zone for the over the top violence, Ray Stevenson looked like a Tim Bradstreet drawing and I even liked his skull painted vest. However the villains were a bit over the top, hated Dominic West's accent.
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+1
8:40PM on 04/04/2012

No love for Stevenson?

I actually thought Punisher War Zone was pretty fun. Was it goofy and goopy? Yeah, but I took that as an attempt by the director to make a relatively dull premise and add some life into it. I've been a huge fan of Stevenson's since HBO's Rome, and I hoped him as the Punisher would kick mondo ass. However, his performance was bogged down by too much brooding on his part, but I think aesthetically and tonally he actually hits the character really well. Although some parts of the movie felt like a
I actually thought Punisher War Zone was pretty fun. Was it goofy and goopy? Yeah, but I took that as an attempt by the director to make a relatively dull premise and add some life into it. I've been a huge fan of Stevenson's since HBO's Rome, and I hoped him as the Punisher would kick mondo ass. However, his performance was bogged down by too much brooding on his part, but I think aesthetically and tonally he actually hits the character really well. Although some parts of the movie felt like a silly CSI episode (the police exposition scenes) I actually thought Dominic West was pretty funny (as well as Doug Hutchinson, everyone's favorite teenager-marrying goofball.) Was it campy via the inclusion of a Slipknot track in the middle of the movie? Yes. Did it have the Punisher shooting a ton of people, yeah. Everything else is just attempts at making a halfway decent movie that went a little flat.
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10:34PM on 04/04/2012

Made for TV

Great article. My two cents: give this to FX or AMC and let them run with it. It can't be given justice in two hours, but the story could be fully developed in a series. Just sayin'.
Great article. My two cents: give this to FX or AMC and let them run with it. It can't be given justice in two hours, but the story could be fully developed in a series. Just sayin'.
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7:47PM on 04/14/2012
I have to disagree with you here, much as I love the Punisher comics, i'm glad the films expanded upon his character(especially the 2004 film, which I always found to be a highly underrated comic-book film, and I thought Travolta was the bomb) and I wouldn't exactly call the Punisher "unredeemable" either, trying to make him that way in a film just wouldn't be all that interesting IMO, sometimes what you see in comics just dosen't translate to the screen naturally, and i'm really interested to
I have to disagree with you here, much as I love the Punisher comics, i'm glad the films expanded upon his character(especially the 2004 film, which I always found to be a highly underrated comic-book film, and I thought Travolta was the bomb) and I wouldn't exactly call the Punisher "unredeemable" either, trying to make him that way in a film just wouldn't be all that interesting IMO, sometimes what you see in comics just dosen't translate to the screen naturally, and i'm really interested to see what direction the TV series takes, but I don't think we need another Punisher film really. I'd rather see other comic-book characters get film adaptions, like Green Arrow, Luke Cage, Deadpool, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman etc
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12:03PM on 11/17/2012
I agree with you. Although the films were terrible, I did kinda like the Thomas Jane version for the simple fact of the cast and the fight scene with Kevin Nash. It was kinda melodramatic, but I enjoyed it at the least. As for War Zone, gosh it was just shit. I expected more from Alexander, because her previous film Green Street Hooligans was so good. I really hope they come up with the right director who has a passion for it.
I agree with you. Although the films were terrible, I did kinda like the Thomas Jane version for the simple fact of the cast and the fight scene with Kevin Nash. It was kinda melodramatic, but I enjoyed it at the least. As for War Zone, gosh it was just shit. I expected more from Alexander, because her previous film Green Street Hooligans was so good. I really hope they come up with the right director who has a passion for it.
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