Articles & Notes — June 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm

2004 “Punisher” stands the test of time

punisher-frank-castleIt has been some time, since I last watched the 2004 version of the “Punisher”, and a couple of days ago, I’ve decided to watch it again. This re-watching made some thoughts about the film become very clear to me.

First of all, the film wasn’t even half bad as some people claimed, when it first came out. Having watched all three “Punisher” films of 1989, 2004 and 2012, I caught myself thinking that I remember more from 2004 Punisher, than I do from other two films.

Second, there is one thing that makes 2004 Punisher really stand out, if compared to other two films – it has memorable characters that look ridiculously real (yes, I am speaking about Punisher’s neighbors in the picture).

While such characters as “The Russian” and Frank Castle himself can be assessed by some as being cartoonish, the trio of Punisher’s neighbors (Joan, Dave, Bumpo) to me, seemed like the most ordinary people in the whole film. A great contrast.

The film has just enough of action for everyone, with some people calling it “a well-done throwback to the old-school action films of the 1960s and 1970s.” The film had some of that indeed.

Thomas Jane, while not really an action star, in my opinion, did a great job portraying an antihero Punisher Frank Castle. Yeah, we might love Dolph Lundgren more, some people may prefer Ray Stevenson, but Thomas Jane was the closest we got to the originally drawn Frank Castle.

And speaking of box-office – the 2004 “Punisher” seems like to have been the only of the three films that was actually successful.

The original 1989 Punisher was very 80’s style, made on low-budget, and didn’t get that well of a reception, yet turned into a cult film as the years went by.

The 2004 Punisher was made on a budget of $33 million, while having such stars as John Travolta, Will Patton, the late Roy Scheider, as well as Rebecca Romijn, the sexy Laura Harring, the incredible Kevin Nash, and of course Thomas Jane. As a result, the film earned nearly $34 million domestically, and some $20 million worldwide, in total some $54 million.

In comparison – “Punisher: Warzone” released in 2012 was made for $35 million, and it earned just over $8 million domestically + just over $2 million worldwide – making it a fat flop at the box office.

Originally, the 2004 “Punisher” was supposed to have a lot more action scenes, and a much bigger budget, but the end result turned out to be good enough. So, if you’re looking for a “not-so-recent, but decent” action movie to watch – give the 2004 “Punisher” a go. Frank Castle is the man!

By Moon Lee

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