The Punisher

Berkowitz: "You're know that, don't you?"
the Punisher: "No I'm not."
Berkowitz: "Then what the f*** do you call a hundred and twenty-five murders in five years, huh?"
the Punisher: "Work in progress."

release year: 1989
genre: action
viewing setting: home DVD, 10/22/14 and 1/16/10 and 6/6/03

synopsis: Ex-cop who survives his family's murder becomes a one-man executioner of criminals.

impressions: I'd seen this many years ago, but what I'd forgotten was just how high its body count is: 88 confirmed kills! Rejoice, slaughter fans - this is your movie. It's also a pretty decent action/martial arts film in its own right, and didn't need the "Punisher" label at all (in fact, many fans of the comic book were mad about this movie because it wasn't totally faithful to the source material.) Things worth seeing here: Yakuza, secret underground casino, martial arts dojo, M60 with shotgun attached underneath, annoying lady partner who can do anything with a computer, stretching torture racks, hot evil henchwoman, deadly diner, bus hijacking and chase, multi-part walking martial arts battle at end.

things to watch for: Any of the big fights: mansion at beginning, boat shortly thereafter, skyscraper at end.

something this movie has that no other movie has: a fight with machine-gun-wielding ninjas at Coney Island

acting: Dolph Lundgren does okay in the action scenes and even the regular acting, and he's excellent in the martial arts fight scenes (which, it turns out, were all done with real martial artists.) Louis Gossett Jr. and some woman were good in cop supporting roles. Jurgen Prochnow did a good job as the head gangster, as did the woman who played the head Yakuza. I saw no real purpose in the old drunk ex-actor supporting character.

final word: Lots of mayhem, via fist, gun, and blade; it may not be the perfect Punisher movie, but it's a good martial arts/action movie in and of itself, and doesn't completely deserve the bad rap it still gets to this day.

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