Sunday, January 22, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: The Punisher (1989)

"Come on god, answer me. for years I'm asking why, why are the innocent dead and the guilty alive? Where is justice? Where is punishment? Or have you already answered, have you already said to the world here is justice, here is punishment, here, in me." - The Punisher

"We are Yakuza. When your ancestors were shepherds still screwing sheep on the Mediterranean coast, ours were the crime lords of Asia. " - Lady Tanaka

"There's a limit to revenge, you know." - Gianni Franco
"I guess I just haven't reached mine yet." - The Punisher

I don't care what anybody says. This movie is the SHIT. I remember watching it when it came out. It was never in the theaters, it just went straight to video. Same year as BATMAN. So parents all over let their kids rent this pretty dark, language heavy movie because they let them see OTHER comic book movies, how different could this one be? Speaking of Batman, I don't think its a coincidence that ol Frank Castle mentions him in a torture scene seeing as how one was a huge blockbuster and one couldn't even get shown in a theater in the states. Either way, this one has it all... The cop who's family gets murdered so he must get revenge a la WALKING TALL, MAD MAX, etc. But THIS ONE stars Dolph Lundgren, and Louis Gossett Jr... all in one of the first modern comic book flicks and one of the ONLY comic book flicks that doesn't bow to a PG audience...THE PUNISHER!!!

We all know the story of Frank Castle. If you don't, then a lot of shit probably goes over your head. Frank Castle is a cop who's wife and daughter are murdered by gangsters. He's become a full on vigilante intent on paying back those who wronged him, and since he has no life left and everyone assumes him dead as well, he just keeps on "punishing" bad guys. Punisher is also a term we came up with as a band in like 2005. We call them "Frank Castle's" to be polite. You know the type. "Hey, Frank Castle's here" or "Hey, who put Frank Castle on the list?". Oh, you mean the guy who won't shut up and is constantly talking, screaming or interrupting you and me and all of our friends all night? Yeah, that guy (or girl). Francis Castle. Anyway, that doesn't have shit to do with this flick.

This flick is the first of I'm pretty sure 3 different films that have given us a Punisher origin story. None of them have been spectacular, none of them have been blockbusters, but upon rewatching this one, I'm gonna say it was about as badass as it could have been. They didn't hold back. It's violent and full of "fuck you"'s and "oh shit!"'s. Dolph Lundgren is our hero and he's killed 125 gangsters in the last 5 years. He uses a drunk to get information, no idea where he gets his arsenal. He lives down in the sewers, and is chasing down the last of the gangsters who were actually involved in his personal case. In the beginning he blows up the house of one of the last top head dudes who just got out of jail.

With his latest move, the Punisher has forced the top mobster Franco back home to regain control over his mafia before everything falls apart. His idea is to bring the mafia together. After Punisher throws a wrench in his plans, the leader of the Yakuza, Lady Tanaka comes in and says she'll help them put their mafia back together for 75% of their take. She basically kills a bunch of motherfuckers and then kidnaps the leaders that are still alives children. His drunk tells them that, but the Punisher is like who cares, except for he realizes he does, because his kids being hurt are what turned him into what he is.

So Frank, who this whole time is being chased down by Lou Gossett Jr and his new chick partner, goes after the kids. He steals a school bus and rescues all the kids but one, the main mafia guy Franco's kid. He takes the others though and theres a chase, and this one dude gets run over (and that's probably the best scene in the flick. I rewatched it about 15 times). Eventually theres a road block and Punisher pulls over and hands over the kids. But they arrest him and they're dropping him off to be executed, but the mafia wrecks the transport truck and kidnaps Frank. They tell him he has to help them rescue Franco's kid or he'll kill his old partner Lou Gossett Jr. Punisher agrees. Then they go and fuck up the Yakuza. I don't want to tell you the whole ending here, because you should definitely watch this one. Verily I say unto you- The criminals shall be punished!!!


  1. I remember jacking this from my dads video collection to watch late at night when they were asleep. Totally underrated film.

  2. Always loved this movie...even though it really shouldn't have been called "The Punisher".

  3. Dude, great review as always.. this 1989 version of punisher is muuuuuuch better than the recent one from 2004!!! The new one sucks! I reviewed it this week, you should check the review on my blog! thanks! :-D

  4. I'm so glad you reviewed this... this movie changed my fucking life.

  5. Goddamn love this flick. Like you said, it's not holding back the rough parts, which kinda suits when you think the source material. Probably the best adaptation of Punisher.