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The Punisher

2006-03-30 12:39


Frank Castle (Tom Jane) is a man who has seen too much death as an FBI special agent. Now he is finally moving out of the field and into a normal life with his wife and young son. But on his final assignment the operation spins out of control and a young man, Bobby Saint (James Carpinello), is inadvertently killed.

This places the FBI on the wrong side of Tampa businessman Howard Saint (John Travolta) and his glamorous wife, Livia (Laura Harring). Beneath their glossy social profile the couple have underworld ties and a chilling capacity for brutality. Inflamed by the death of their son, the Saints are willing to risk their respectability on a mission of blood-vengeance. Howard Saint and his lieutenants unleash hell at the Castle family reunion, and leave Frank and his loved ones for dead.

But Castle survives and, drawing upon all he has learned in 20 years, he sets in motion a plan to punish the murderers. Driven ceaselessly by the need for revenge he soon realizes that his life's work has just begun. As The Punisher, he will provide justice for ordinary people and exact retribution from society's villains.

What the critics are saying:

"...shows the odd glimmer of wit, but it's largely an unrepentant wallow in bloody violence."
- Nev Pierce, BBCi Film

"The pleasure we take in [the Punisher's] inability to resist his basest instincts is like taking a bite of deliciously dark chocolate: probably bad for us, definitely bitter, but still sweet and stimulating."
- Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post

"Travolta is terrific as a bad guy, making Saint almost sympathetic. His co-stars however, flounder in a sea of bad lines, with poor Romijn-Stamos getting stuck with the worst."
- Jonathan Foreman, New York Post

In "simplifying" one of Marvel's most interesting comic book heroes, the movie's screenwriters have removed all The Punishers' depth and bleached away all his quirky charm. All that is left is a mindlessly violent vigilante with a bag full of corny catchphrases.

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