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The Punisher (1990)

Dolph Lundgren , Louis Gossett Jr. , Mark Goldblatt  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, Bryan Marshall
  • Directors: Mark Goldblatt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Live / Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 1999
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 078401132X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,464 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Punisher" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

First, a few facts. Dolph Lundgren expresses emotions ranging from stoic to, well, really stoic. There are holes in the story large enough to pilot the Exxon Valdez through without spilling a drop. And the film is littered with action movie clichés. But none of this matters. The Punisher succeeds because it stays true to its origins, the Marvel comic of the same name. Studio-engineered films such as Batman never quite capture the mixture of loyalty and betrayal, justice and revenge, moral ambiguity and emotional truth that are the hallmarks of the graphic novel. Films such as Darkman do. So does The Punisher. Lundgren plays Frank Castle, a dedicated policeman whose family was wiped out in a mob hit. He went underground (literally) and, as the Punisher, has been exacting his revenge, killing 125 mobsters in the past five years. But when the yakuza (Japanese Mafia) moves in on the mob's territory and kidnaps their children, it's up to the Punisher to rescue the kids. The action blazes, Lundgren (a former full-contact karate champ) moves with feral grace, the production design is a pleasure to watch, and director Mark Goldblatt (whose credits as editor include such big films as Starship Troopers and True Lies) has a clean, efficient style. --Geof Miller

Product Description

Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett, Jr. The invincible Punisher comes after the mobsters who offed his family in this electrifying action/adventure film. Based on the Marvel Comics character. 1989/color/92 min/R.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If society won't punish the guilty, he will. June 18, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Let's face it, before Blade (1998), X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002), Marvel Comics really didn't have much luck in getting successful films made based on their characters. The reason? Because they would often sell the movie rights to anyone who had two coins to rub together, releasing cinematic flops like Dr. Strange (1978), Howard the Duck (1986), Captain America (1989), and even a Fantastic Four movie that was so bad it never saw the light of day, as it was too bad to even release on video. And then there was The Punisher (1989), a character introduced in the 70's within the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man, issue 129, circa February 1974, a former police detective, now vigilante, taking revenge on criminals, motivated by the death of his family. Most people I know who've seen the film have pretty distinctive feelings about it, ranging from dislike to severe hate, but I always thought it was pretty good, considering...
The film, directed by Mark Goldblatt, whose primary credits include editing films like The Howling (1981), The Terminator (1984), and True Lies (1994), stars Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Jerome Krabbé. Yeah, I know what you're thinking...Dolph Lundgren? I think a number of people had instant reservations when hearing Dolph, certainly an interminable dweller of the B movie circuit, pre-judging the film unfairly. Lou Gossett, Jr. brings a little star power to the table, but he also is no stranger to B movie fans appearing in films like Jaws 3-D (1983), Firewalker (1986), and any of the four or so Iron Eagle films.
The film opens with a television news report, giving us some expository background with regards to a mafia type recently acquitted of the crime of killing detective Frank Castle (Lungren) and his family five years prior.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and Best October 24, 2005
Better then the 2004 version hands down. Dolph Lundgren plays the ultimate punisher, captures and delivers the story of an ice cold world that is "The Punisher". Just a great movie for this character, total classic.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great 80's Punisher movie April 20, 2004
By A Customer
This movie is great for what it is: an 80's Punisher movie. It's also the type of movie that seperates those who enjoy a great action movie from the more dogmatic and less fun. Take a look at the reviews on this site and you'll see what I mean. Action fans, who have read some Punsher comics and think it's a fun character, know an 80's action movie when they see one and can appreciate them for what they are: escapism. They enjoyed this movie.
You also have the flip side of the coin. These folks can't get past the Punisher's shirt, his having the wrong number or gender of kids, the wrong mobsters being the baddies, the wrong form of execution of his family (it's a car bomb in the movie), the wrong location of the execution (it's not in Central Park)...etc. and this is not a happy bunch. They aren't happy when Dolph is super-heroic and they aren't happy when he's more human and his shirt really bugs them.
Do any of these changes really get in the way of the movie being a great 80's action film. No. It's still a decent and entertaining movie, but they would disagree. "The Punisher has on the wrong shirt" is a major complaint, and "the new movie will be better" they hoped in vain. "Better" meant more true in every little detail to the book with no changes.
Now the '04 Punisher has arrived. Other than the shirt is the 2004 Punisher free of many of the "problems" that geekdom has with the '89 movie? Not really. Once again it seems the bad guy isn't exactly right in the new one, the Punisher's family isn't exactly right, and they are killed in Puerto Rico and not in Central Park...etc. and once again there will be folks that won't be happy. They are very "by the book" and the word escapism apparently is not in their book.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the year 2004 version September 24, 2004
By Tim
The 2004 version was too soft and watered down for my tastes. I didn't like it at all.

This 1989 version is how the Punisher is truely meant to be. He punishes the guilty with extreme prejudice, without hesitation and without regrets.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much better than the 2004 version November 14, 2005
This movie is so much better than the new 04 version. If Batman Begins

is the perfect adaptation from comic book character to big screen hero,

The Punisher (2004) is the perfect example of how to destroy a great

comic book character. The first thirty minutes are boring and

unoriginal. Whereas Christopher Nolan made good use of the first half

of Batman Begins to present a credible transition from rich man's son

to Dark Knight, Jonathan Hensleigh bores viewers to death by picturing

Frank Castle as the perfect American family man who then loses his

beautiful wife and perfect son in a cheap Mad Max rip off. In contrast,

the 1989 low budget but far superior version started off smack in the

middle of the action with a seriously disturbed ex cop already on the

rampage and the reason for his decline into madness was gradually

explained by means of flashbacks and memories form Louis Gousset Jr

trying to bring his old friend back into a sane life. But whereas the

comic book Punisher, brought to life by similarly huge 6' 6" Dolph

Lundgren in the first movie, becomes a bitter, meaner than hell, cold

blooded killer with no compassion whatsoever, the 04 Frank Castle turns

into your friendly neighborhood watchman who uses an ice cream cone to

"torture" his first victim. Batman Begins also has its share of humor,

but it is subtle and not out of place. The bad guys don't fare much

better. Whereas Jeroen Krabbe also had his share of trouble with the

Yakuza in the 80s version, at least he was a serious gangster not to be

taken lightly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Action Movie
This is the original Punisher movie. There are 2 remakes of it (actually 1 remake in 2004 with a sequel to that one in 2008). Read more
Published 1 day ago by Lynda Dunbar
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Wrong punisher movie
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Just plain fun!
Really the best of the Punisher movies IMHO...Dolph even looks like he has a skull on his head in some scenes. Violent, stylistic, very 80's at times...just plain fun.
Published 11 days ago by
5.0 out of 5 stars He was quite pleased that it arrived as
Bought for a friend who did not have access to buy online. He was quite pleased that it arrived as promised
Published 12 days ago by sdinnm
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Punisher
Wanted to view the earlier version of the Punisher. This is one and, well, I would not watch it again.
Published 17 days ago by J. Mol
When TOM JANE'S PUNISHER was first released on DVD back in 2005
Dolph Lundgren's version was also re-issued on DVD by the U.S. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ben30
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie and was delivered as scheduled. thank you
Published 1 month ago by Jackie Cardey
5.0 out of 5 stars the punsher of the 80's is my favorite one of the 3
The original punisher can beat both of new punishers i know that some people didn't like this version what's not to like thats the way he is in the comics i mean dolph lundgren... Read more
Published 1 month ago by thomas henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it
I was very pleased to be able to find this on blu ray....though, even though i dont, most find underrated.It was a must for this fan
Published 1 month ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars The Punisher (1989) Uncut Mediabook German Import review
When police officer Frank Castle's family is inadvertently killed by a car bomb that was intended for him, he declares a one-man war against organized crime as the Punisher. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dustin Decker
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Topic From this Discussion
Awesome Movie
Yeah this movie was great. Way better then the 2004 punisher film.
12 days ago by Belisario |  See all 2 posts
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