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Published:September 27th, 2008 22:28 EST
The Punisher (1989) film review

The Punisher (1989) film review

By Garrett Godwin

If society won`t punish the guilty, he will

The Punisher first came to life not in 2004 with Thomas Jane, but with Dolph Lundgren in 1989 as Marvel Comics` ultimate antihero.

Frank Castle (Lundgren) was a NYPD detective with a beautiful wife and two beautiful children.  But tragedy struck when a car bomb took their lives -- including Castle, supposedly.  Frank Castle WAS dead, and The Punisher was born: the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner.  For five years, he has executed 125 crime figures, and is now the city`s most mysterious vigilante -- wanted by a task force headed by his old partner, Jake (Oscar winner Louis Gossett, Jr.).  The body count has weakened the organization and giving the ruthless Yakuza the opportunity to take over -- kidnapping the mobsters` children and selling them into slavery.  Now, it is up to Castle/The Punisher to rescue them -- including the son of the mobster who ordered the hit on his family.

Filmed in Australia, the film opened in theatres in most terriorities, but wasn`t released theaterically in America due to the bankruptcy of New World Pictures. 

The film shows why Castle became The Punisher, but failed to further more backstory of how he became The Punisher, for this film is a low-budget, shoot-`em-up, routine action/revenge flick.  Another goof is absence of the famous Punisher skull "logo".

However, since its release on video and runs on cable, it has develop a cult following -- yet receiving mixed reviews from comic book purists and moviegoers over the years.  "The casting for the film was brilliant", stated Big Movie Fan on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), "so all that was needed after that was lots of action.  And lots of action is exactly what we got.  It was very vicious at times and I found myself flinching at times but it was great action."

Dolph Lundgren is The Punisher, and he`s available on DVD -- because if you`re guilty, you`ll be punished.