New York Times - 04/16/2004
"Jonathan Hensleigh's movie version of the Punisher's origins stays true to its hero by being similarly stripped-down, efficient and mean."
Los Angeles Times - 04/16/2004
"THE PUNISHER is that rare comic book movie that actually feels like a comic book....These battles are a cost-effective throwback. They depend on the physical side of moviemaking...and top of the line stunt work..."
USA Today - 04/16/2004
"[Z]ippy and amusingly cast....A film whose primary plus is a sense of humor."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/01/2004
"[K]ick back, and wistfully remember a time when someone named Dolph could be a movie star."
Chicago Sun-Times - 04/16/2004
"[T]he film, directed by Jonathan Hensleigh, is consistently well-acted, and has some scenes of real power."
Uncut - 10/01/2004
"[The] gloriously violent action sequences have a refreshingly downbeat '70s exploitation edge. Nasty, brain-dead fun."
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2004
"[The director] takes a retro-action route with tributes to pre-CGI stuntwork. Most impressive is a frantic car-chase..."
Marvel Comics presents a second big-screen version of THE PUNISHER, with this action-packed adaptation from screenwriter-turned-director Jonathan Hensleigh. Frank Castle (Tom Jane) is a retired F.B.I. agent spurred into action after the merciless slaying of his wife, father, and son. Adopting the superhero guise of The Punisher, Castle aims to wreak vengeance for his dead family by tracking down the culprits responsible for their demise. All clues point to Howard Saint (John Travolta), a ruthless businessman and nightclub owner whose son was mistakenly killed by Castle in a botched undercover operation back in his F.B.I. days. Unique amongst Marvel superheroes, The Punisher possesses no special powers, just remarkable strength parried with a blind determination to avenge his family. As he hunts down Saint, Castle surrounds himself with three fellow societal outcasts to get the job done, namely Joan (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), Bumpo (John Pinette), and Dave (Ben Foster). Director Hensleigh eschews flashy CGI effects for the bulk of the movie, and instead reverts to old action-movie staples such as thrilling stunt work, gunfights, and huge explosions. The old-fashioned feel suits The Punisher well, providing an apt mirror of the hero's own lack of super powers. Hensleigh winds the film through a thrilling white-knuckle ride to its spectacular conclusion, ultimately providing a highly appropriate movie for one of Marvel's lesser-known comic book heroes.
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