If you love to return to these vintage classic actioners and press the ‘pause’ button on your brain while enjoying them, then you are going to like what follows.
“The Punisher” (1989) is the first ever film adaptation, based on the popular Marvel comic book.
Also, it is the most inaccurate one as it doesn’t respect many aspects of the original story.
For instance, the main character Frank Castle is not wearing the famous ‘skull’ shirt.
It is the funniest, though as it has the stone-faced Hans Dolph Lundgren in the leading role.
To be honest, I don’t particularly like the other two adaptations – the one starring Thomas Jane back from 2004 and the other one from 2008 with Ray Stevenson.
They are both too mainstream, modernistic and try in vain to be flawless.
In other words, they set high expectations but eventually failed to deliver.
It’s a totally different thing to watch a funny action movie starring Dolph Lundgren.
You just know what to expect – a cheap, yet entertaining flick, full of goofs and cheesy action scenes.
‘The Punisher’ from 1989 is known to be the most action-packed adaptation of the celebrated vigilante story.
The official body count is 91, not including those killed in mass explosions.
Also, in order for the movie to look as realistic as possible, the creators preferred to hire skilled Karate fighters and train them to perform the stunts.
Now it’s the time to say that the movie doesn’t look realistic (if we were1989, then maybe), but the action scenes are surely entertaining.
Cast and Crew
‘The Punisher’ is directed by Mark Goldblatt, who is mostly known as an editor (‘Terminator’, ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’) than as a director.
The writer of the film is also a celebrity in Hollywood.
Boaz Yakin is a well-known name in the action genre.
He has a writing credit for movies such as’ Safe’ (2012) and the action-thriller ‘Now You See Me’ (2013).
Some of the most popular names in the cast are Louis Gosset Jr. (‘An Officer and a Gentleman’), Kim Miyori (‘Metro’) as Lady Tanaka and the sexy Nancy Everhard (‘Reasonable Doubts’) as Sam Leary.
The plot revolves around a vigilante story similar to the one in the upcoming movie starring Bruce Willis ‘Death Wish’.
After his family is brutally killed, the grieving Frank Castle transforms himself into ‘The Punisher’ – a defender of the innocent and a nightmare for the criminals.
His mission is to execute thugs in retaliation for the unpunished murders of his wife and kids.
His ex-partner in the police Jake Berkowitz (Louis Gossett Jr.), tries to catch his leads, while a Japanese Mafia female mobster tries to beat out the city’s notorious criminal in overtaking the drug trade.
This is a Funny Action Movie Because
Boy, some of the action scenes are truly hilarious and so unrealistic that one can die laughing.
For instance, we see someone throwing a knife in one sequence and two seconds later in a totally different sequence, you see the knife flying and sticking in the victim’s flesh, without so much knowing who threw it.
The explosions are as authentic as in a computer game (‘Doom’ for example) and some of the actors die extremely funny like they do it for the first time in front of the camera.
Dolph Lundgren is just being himself like in any other movie – with an expressionless gaze, stoned face, and gigantic muscles.
Just that this time he is riding an old-fashioned Harley Davidson and his hair is black.
I don’t know if it is because of the color of his hair, but he looks depressed, bored and very sociopathic.
The Swedish action hero from ‘Universal Soldier’ is as big as the Empire State Building and like always, his enormous chest and biceps speak more about his intentions than his mouth.
His character Frank Castle lives in the dark underground tunnels of the city in a full misery and dirt.
However, it looks like he often finds enough time and resources to maintain a perfectly shaped body.
Obviously, he is organizing his time surprisingly well in order to be a fitness maniac and to keep a diet, while at the same time he lives in a dark hole and keeps himself busy by painfully executing society’s garbage.
The martial art sequences are good, but nothing else is expected from the Swedish killing machine with a 3rd-degree black belt in Karate.
He throws round kicks and punches with a remarkable easiness.
By the end of the movie, the graphic violence becomes extreme.
Frank Castle exterminates an unbelievable number of people in an Aikido club.
He shoots like a crazy Rambo went berserk with an Ak-47 and his kicks and punches are flying as fast as the knives he’s pulling from his sleeves.
There is a spectacular one on one fight scene with Frank Castle and a samurai and one has to give the appropriate credit to the actors because the fight choreography is intense and, ok, I’ll say it, realistic.
The movie is full of cheesy one-liners and the ending is more than satisfying for a vintage action flick from the late 80’s.
The acting is bad enough to be entertaining as well as the wooden dialogue.
In case you didn’t pay attention, Dolph Lundgren is The Punisher and he will surely punish you if you are a fan of the 80’s action movies and you still haven’t watched this one.
Seriously, watching ‘The Punisher’ nowadays brings only great feelings and nostalgia.
The unrefined action scenes, the poor camera work, the stiff acting and the bad editing are all surprisingly entertaining and fun to watch.
‘The Punisher’ (1989) is a fantastic funny action movie and those who have watched it can confirm that.
I definitely can.
What is your favorite Dolph Lundgren movie and why? Leave a comment below!