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Written by / 5/30/2011 / No comments / , , , , ,

THE PUNISHER

2004 rating: **1/2
A gun-toting Marvel comic makes for a gritty film without enough action and too much melodrama. The films begins like many high-octane macho movies do – a bad drug deal goes down and people die, including the son of mobster John Travolta who seeks revenge on the responsible undercover agent Frank Castle, a buff tough Thomas Jane. Enter Castle’s family, a perfect looking son and wife who now live safely on a Mediterranean Island: till Travolta’s thugs take out everyone, including, so they think, Frank… but he somehow survives a killshot to the chest, finds a shirt with a logo resembling a skull within an Afro-pick, and, having returned Stateside, holes up in a grungy, ghetto apartment waiting (and waiting some more) for his own payback i.e. to live up to his title.

As The Punisher
Side characters within the rat-hole include two extremely annoying computer geeks and a gorgeous girl (providing love without interest). And as opposed to our beefy protagonist seeking revenge, the mobsters seek him, providing only a few fight scenes – one in particular, involving a muscular Russian with carnival music playing, is the best challenge to our “superhero” who doesn't have enough to do, or a decent lead villain to battle. Travolta merely strolls his compound providing filler dialog, and could have been played by anyone. (Will Patton, as Travolta's second, makes a more effective heavy). Gone are the spandex and superpower abilities like most Marvel outings, but there’s not enough kickass action to replace (or provide an alternative for) the thing that makes comic book adaptations work: corny fun.
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