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Punisher, the

 R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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First, a few facts. Dolph Lundgren expresses emotions ranging from stoic to, well, really stoic. There are holes in the story large enough to pilot the Exxon Valdez through without spilling a drop. And the film is littered with action movie clichés. But none of this matters. The Punisher succeeds because it stays true to its origins, the Marvel comic of the same name. Studio-engineered films such as Batman never quite capture the mixture of loyalty and betrayal, justice and revenge, moral ambiguity and emotional truth that are the hallmarks of the graphic novel. Films such as Darkman do. So does The Punisher. Lundgren plays Frank Castle, a dedicated policeman whose family was wiped out in a mob hit. He went underground (literally) and, as the Punisher, has been exacting his revenge, killing 125 mobsters in the past five years. But when the yakuza (Japanese Mafia) moves in on the mob's territory and kidnaps their children, it's up to the Punisher to rescue the kids. The action blazes, Lundgren (a former full-contact karate champ) moves with feral grace, the production design is a pleasure to watch, and director Mark Goldblatt (whose credits as editor include such big films as Starship Troopers and True Lies) has a clean, efficient style. --Geof Miller

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars this movie is a must for your collection Feb. 5 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
i received this movie on the expected date. i am happy to have found this movie for my collection, but i must admit that after watching it, this time, i found the story and dialogs, cheesy. but it is an old movie. it was still fun to match none the less...:)
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By falcon
i found this version of The Punisher much different than the 2004 version.i think it is darker and probably more faithful to the comic book.the pacing is very deliberate,which creates more atmosphere.there are some very good fight scenes in the movie.to me,the biggest difference is the villain which is much more deadly and a worthy adversary for The Punisher.in this version,Dolph Lundgren plays the role and i think he is much more imposing,with better physical presence.of course he's bigger,so that helps.he is very suitable for the role in my mind.overall,this is a pretty good movie,more subdued than the 2004 version.there is some physical action,but very little of things blowing up,which i think work in this movies' favour.for me,The Punisher(1989) is a 3.5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If society won't punish the guilty, he will. June 18 2004
Let's face it, before Blade (1998), X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002), Marvel Comics really didn't have much luck in getting successful films made based on their characters. The reason? Because they would often sell the movie rights to anyone who had two coins to rub together, releasing cinematic flops like Dr. Strange (1978), Howard the Duck (1986), Captain America (1989), and even a Fantastic Four movie that was so bad it never saw the light of day, as it was too bad to even release on video. And then there was The Punisher (1989), a character introduced in the 70's within the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man, issue 129, circa February 1974, a former police detective, now vigilante, taking revenge on criminals, motivated by the death of his family. Most people I know who've seen the film have pretty distinctive feelings about it, ranging from dislike to severe hate, but I always thought it was pretty good, considering...
The film, directed by Mark Goldblatt, whose primary credits include editing films like The Howling (1981), The Terminator (1984), and True Lies (1994), stars Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Jerome Krabbé. Yeah, I know what you're thinking...Dolph Lundgren? I think a number of people had instant reservations when hearing Dolph, certainly an interminable dweller of the B movie circuit, pre-judging the film unfairly. Lou Gossett, Jr. brings a little star power to the table, but he also is no stranger to B movie fans appearing in films like Jaws 3-D (1983), Firewalker (1986), and any of the four or so Iron Eagle films.
The film opens with a television news report, giving us some expository background with regards to a mafia type recently acquitted of the crime of killing detective Frank Castle (Lungren) and his family five years prior.
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3.0 out of 5 stars punisher July 10 2004
By abe
Format:VHS Tape
this dudes family gets wasted in front of him so he goes on a murderous rampage vs organized crime.the punisher is played by the russian dude from rocky 4.this ones more than the kids can handle.especialy the kidnapping parts.his enemy?the jap mob!the real deal is they could have done better but they didnt do bad!
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4.0 out of 5 stars As good as the new one. June 7 2004
The action in this movie is the best. The effects this movie uses for being from 1989 are awesome. And take this tip from someone who cares. DO NOT BUY A USED VIDEO FROM TSA VIDEO IF YOU VALUE YOUR MONEY.
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3.0 out of 5 stars fun May 3 2004
By A Customer
this is an awesome dolph flick. the punisher punishes the guilty and the corpses pile up. having the punishers old partner involved is a good idea and the kidnapping of mobster's kids and the yazuka are good plot devices too. these all make for an interesting story. check it out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars THE OTHER GOOD PUNISHER April 27 2004
By A Customer
Warning: this critique is not intended for clothes fetishists. If you have a "thing" for the Punisher's shirt, with or without the skull, this ain't for you.
The 2004 Punisher is an entertaining shoot-em-up. Like the 2004 movie, Dolph's 1989 flick is also lots of shoot-em-up fun. Ignore the complaints about the Punisher's shirt when you read reviews on here and you'll be fine. This version isn't as polished as a lot of today's movies, but its fun entertainment that you shouldn't think about too hard. There's a big guy in black, lots of action, and death. It's not rocket science.
Give this one a look and the 2004 Punisher too. It's all good.
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By A Customer
At least this version had the sense to leave off the laughable "skull shirt" the destroys any sense of realism in the new version and makes it impossible to suspend disbelief and get into the movie.
Scriptwise, it's a little smarter than the dumbed down, "no plot just brainless, meaningless violence" comics that Marvel pust out, which makes it only slightly dumber than the typical B movie.
But as with anything superhero related, you're an idiot if you look for any kind of deeper meaning here.
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