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Movie Review: The Punisher (Monday, April 26, 2004)

Title: The Punisher
Rating: R
Release Date: April 16, 2004
When seen: April 23, 2004
Venue: UA Fairfax Towne Center
Fairfax, VA
Review: Excellent!

The Punisher is pleasingly dark. The theatre was handing out reprints of the Spider-Man issue in which the Punisher first appeared, which made for interesting reading during the commercials preceding the movie. This Marvel comic adaptation begins by introducing you to the happy life of Frank Castle in an undercover sting operation where a couple of arms dealers get killed. It is going to be Castle's last job, and he and his beautiful family are going to live happily ever after. Unfortunately, the bad guys figure out who Castle is, hunt him down, and in a sick display kill off his family. Somehow, Castle himself manages to survive, and after nursing himself back to health, sets out to punish those responsible.

Castle is understandably cold and brutal throughout the film, but maintains his humanity with a desire not to kill indescriminantly, and his continuous bouts with himself and his misery over the loss of his family. He makes some interesting allies, and grows as a character throughout the film. The Punisher may not live happily ever after, but he walked away soundly enough for a sequal, which would be welcome if it continues to capture the mood that was present here.

Some of the high points include awesome fight sequences, a ruthless John Travolta, and an exciting rock soundtrack. This will be another definite addition to the DVD collection when it is released.

—Brian (4/26/2004 1:34 PM)
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