Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 107 minutes
Rated R (for strong brutal violence, language, and drug use)
Directed by Lexi Alexander (who, if you follow Martial Arts at all, is a World Record Kickboxer & Karate Champion - she also wrote & directed Green Street Hooligans - with Elijah Wood & Claire Forlani - I have never seen it, but it is in my Netflix Queue)
Written by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, (both of whom also co-wrote Iron Man) and Nick Santora
Ray Stevenson (who played Titus in HBO's Rome)
Dominic West (who played Theron in 300 and Kirk - the guitarist - from Rock Star)
Doug Hutchison (Tooms from the X-Files! He was also in The Green Mile)
Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld, Officer Don from 3rd Rock from the Sun)
Julie Benz (Rita - the girlfriend of Dexter, Darla from Buffy & Angel, Sarah in Rambo - she is also going to be in next year's sequel to Boondock Saints)
Colin Salmon (David from HEX - he is also in The Bank Job)
Rating: 5 Skulls
If you look in the top left corner, of the above poster, you will notice Thomas Jane - before he left the production. . . :-)
Frank Castle, a one-man force of vengeance known as "the Punisher", battles mob boss Billy Russoti. Left disfigured by the encounter, Russoti reemerges as Jigsaw, a psychotic villain with a small army at his command.
Too bad for Jigsaw, that the Punisher is preparing to annihilate him and his reign of terror, armed with a cache of high tech new weaponry by the handy Microchip.
I need to start off by saying that I probably should have rated this movie much lower, however as a long-time fan of the Punisher [he is one of my all-time favorites!] I just couldn't help myself.
[My rating system, after all, is that this movie is well worth buying - to me - and I will watch it repeatedly]
I happen to be [one of the few?] who enjoy the 1989 version, with Dolph Lundgren, [I own it on VHS] and I loved the 2004 version with Thomas Jane.
[I do not know the full story of why Jane left this one, mid-way into production - my understanding is something to do with script discrepancies]
In all honesty, I didn't start off liking this one, very much, but after a while it started to grow on me.
Basically, the director - Alexander - stripped the comic character down to it's core and provided us with vengeance, pure and simple.
In the comics, you can understand where Frank is coming from - in the film though, that line becomes very blurred - Frank is just on a bloody rampage throughout this film! [though at one point he does question]
One thing that I really liked about this version, is the fact that this it stayed true to the comics, in regards to what happened with Frank's family [something the 2004 version failed to do]
I also loved the fact that Microchip was in this one! [Wayne Knight is the perfect Micro!]
I do not recall the Martin Soap character [he was the head of the Punisher Task Force, but I liked him as well.
Another thing that was very cool, was when Jigsaw 'became' Jigsaw - he put a three-dimensional puzzle together, on his computer, and at the bottom it stated "The World is Yours" ~ ala Scarface!
Two of my favorite scenes are 1. when the Punisher shows up on the roof top, where three meth addicts are bouncing around... and 2. when Agent Budiansky starts to call for back-up... these are laugh out loud moments - whether or not they are supposed to be, I am not sure. There is so much over-the-top action/violence in this film, that it really can't be taken seriously, however that is also part of the FUN!
Something else that I found interesting was the fact that it was hinted that Frank had previously attended seminary - he, obviously, has come a long, far way since those days!
Here's the Trailer:
Just keep in mind that this film is extremely violent! [I am still amazed that it was directed by a female] :-)
However, if you enjoy head explosions, stabbings to the face, etc, etc, then this film is a must see! [preferably in the theatre, with intense surround sound, which makes the experience of all of the explosions, gunfire, and the metal soundtrack all the more enjoyable - speaking of which, Rob Zombie wrote a new song for the film, which I did not know, until the credits rolled!]