Monday, April 19, 2004

Punisher Review!

The inevitable march of Marvel Comics properties to the silver screen continues with Jonathan Hensleigh's directorial debut, The Punisher. Me, personally, I'm waiting for a Son of Satan movie, but that's just me.
Personally, I'd like to say that the Punisher is quite possibly the weakest character that comics has to offer. The idea of the character is so two-dimensional it hurts. An ex-special forces guy (Marine recon in the comics) hunts down and kills criminals because his family got massacred. Loads of depth there. Yup.

Brought to life by Thomas Jane, the movie's Frank Castle is a man who already lives with regrets. As an ex-soldier and undercover FBI agent, he's uprooted his family time and time again and spends little time with his son. All that's about to change, though. He's finished his last undercover assignment and he's going to take a desk job in London.

One small wrinkle in his plan. The son of filthy rich money launderer Howard Saint (John Travolta) got killed in Castle's last bust. Keep in mind that Frank didn't pull the trigger. The Russian mob did. BUT...Saint and his batshit nutty wife, Livia (Laura Elena Haring), hold him responsible anyway. To say they hold a grudge is an understatement. They send a small army to Puerto Rico to wipe out the entire damn Castle family at their family reunion.

Frank watches his family die, and survives with the help of a local crackpot named Candelaria who might be into voodoo. He moves into a grimy tenement building occupied by characters from Garth Ennis' "Welcome Back, Frank" storyline from the comics. You've got Jane, a mousy waitress (Rebecca Romijn, who despite being a drop-dead gorgeous supermodel is believeable as a woman whose been too many bad places in her life), Spacker Dave...oh, wait...they just call him Dave (Ben Foster, who is actually quite good in spite of the fact that I desperately wanted to hear him say "SPACKER DAVE") dammit, and Mr. Bumpo (John Pinette, who is woefully miscast...too young and plays everything for comedy instead of letting his character be the sad, pathetic loser he was meant to be).

Pretty soon, Castle is at war with the Saint family and the Saints are calling in out of town talent because their right hand man Quentin Glass (Will Patton, whose moustache in this just screams "Macho, Macho Man...") can't seem to handle it. First they get Harry Heck (Mark Collie), a country singin', guitar pickin' hitman from Tenessee. When that doesn't work, they call in the Russian (Kevin Nash) , a ridiculously HUGE bruiser who beats the Punisher like a whole family of red-headed stepchildren.

Thing is, though the movie seems to be a cobbling together of lots of Punisher moments, there doesn't seem to be a lot of coherence in the movie. Considering that Hensleigh has previously been a screenwriter, you'd think he'd notice this. The villains don't think. The Punisher doesn't feel. And at the end of the movie I really just wish I'd seen a story.

Besides the weakness of the story, the score in this movie is quite possibly the most grating, annoying shit I've heard on film. I was begging to hear the nu-metal shitfest "soundtrack" album by the time the movie was done. Whoever Carlo Siliotto is, I want his head on a platter.
One last bitch...
If you were mourning the death of yer wife...even if she were an utter cutie like Samanta Mathis...

...wouldn't you still forget all about that whole vengeance thing if you had a neighbor who looked like this???