The Punisher (1989) starring Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori directed by Mark Goldblatt Movie Review

The Punisher (1989)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Dolph Lundgren in The Punisher (1989)

Not Punishing Enough

Having been the target of a mafia car bomb, cop Frank Castle watched his family killed and so slipped away with everyone thinking he had died in the explosion, that is everyone except his former partner Jake (Louis Gossett, Jr.) who is convinced Frank is alive. In fact Jake believes Frank is the Punisher, a vigilante who over the last few years has killed off the mafia one by one till Gianni Franco (Jeroen Krabbe) is left in charge of a weakened mob. But with the mob in a weakened state the Yakuza attempt to muscle in and do so by kidnapping the children of the remaining mob. Despite his dislike of the mob Frank's sense of what's right lead him to stage a war on the Yakuza.

Did you know The Punisher was born out of a comic book? I am sure there are many who do know that but just as many who don't and back in 1989 when I watched "The Punisher" I had no idea of its origin. And that is in truth an important factor when it comes to the movie as I am sure those who were fans of the comic book feel differently about this movie than those like me who watched because back in the 80s they had a thing for action movies.

Now I remember loving the action in "The Punisher" back in 1989, Lundgren's mean performance as Frank impressed as did the various scenes of him kicking butt in a relatively violent manor, remembering this got a 15 certificate it is not as graphic as some action movies. But it is 25 years since this version of "The Punisher" was made and like other 80s action movies it has not dated very well. Over the top characters, especially bad guys and over acting from those in supporting roles makes it all incredibly corny. The only really thing which still stands up is Lundgren's performance as it still manages to come across as mean and filled with pain, although now the editing of the action makes it feel surprisingly weak and cheesy in places.

What this all boils down to is that the 1989 "The Punisher" is really just a typical 80s action movie which like so many 80s action movies have not dated very well. Don't get me wrong as it is still enjoyable with Lundgren delivering one of his better performances which is one of the few things which still works in the movie.