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Punisher, The (artisan)

3.9 out of 5 stars 238 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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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

Special Features

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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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 078401132X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,661 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Punisher, The (artisan)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD
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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By A Customer on April 20, 2004
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In my opinion this is the best version of the punisher. I grew up with the comic book prior to this movie being released. I liked the movie then, and I appreciate it even more now. Dolph Lundgren played the roll well.
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Everyone may think I'm crazy, but I believe this is the better PUNISHER movie of them all. In my teens, I used to read the comics and when the movie was released, my friends and I thought it was great. They don't play this version on TV too much,(not really at all). Was happy to purchase it from Amazon.
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Long ago in a far away land, long before the coming of the Marvel Epic, there was a rough and ready merc who appeared often as a guest character in Spider-Man and other books who got a film. The folks who read the book knew him right off the bat! The Punisher was coming to the big screen! They got a Hollywood Tough Guy, best known for his role ad Drago from the Rocky Movies, and put him in the roll of the gritty, take no prisoners merc. All told the body count was 91 people. The movie was gritty, dark, noir-esque.

People, by and large, stayed away from the movie. He wasn't a loveable character like TV's Spider-Man, or Wonder Woman, not shiny/squeaky clean like Superman. He was a take no prisoners, deliver no one liners kinda guy. The thing that made him an outcast in the Marvel Universe and a HIT with it's readers made the viewing public uncomfortable. Much the same way those who came after him were (see also "The Punisher" starring Thomas Jane and "Punisher War Journal" with Ray Stevenson). This is not a superhero movie for kids. In fact, in this case, superhero is a bit of a misnomer, as The Punisher is just a really dedicated angry man, a Vietnam Vet fighting a war on crime to avenge his family... but he knows what most who seek to get revenge don't: That once you've made revenge your life's work and achieved revenge against those who wronged you (in this case killed your family), you are left with nothing but emptiness. The Punisher understands this, so he continues. Revenge is replaced by the mission, and the object of the mission is to wipe out crime so that no one else will suffer the fate of his family.
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