Sep 292018
 

The Punisher is probably a mid-tier comic book movie and while it’s certainly not great, I did find it mostly entertaining mainly for Thomas Jane rather than the plot or thinly written villain.

 

 

The Punisher
(2004)

Genre(s): Action, Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Lionsgate | R – 123 min. – $22.99 | September 25, 2018

Date Published: 09/29/2017 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Jonathan Hensleigh
Writer(s): Jonathan Hensleigh and Michael France (written by)
Cast: Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Will Patton, Roy Scheider, Laura Harring, Ben Foster, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Eddie Jemison
DISC INFO:
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.35
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 3.0/5


Plot Synopsis: The Punisher follows FBI agent Frank Castle (THOMAS JANE) as he transforms into the vengeful Punisher after criminals murder his family, including his wife and son. Castle is gravely injured in the attack and believed to be dead by Howard Saint (JOHN TRAVOLTA), the crime lord who ordered the hit. Following his recovery, Castle becomes a heavily armed vigilante who will stop at nothing to exact revenge on Saint and dismantle his underworld empire.

Quick Hit Review: Comic book movies of the early 2000s didn’t exactly aim very high in terms of plot, at least compared to today where the subgenre has taken it up a notch with the quality and that tends to leave even the more revered films, like Spider-Man, to be a bit forgotten. During that era, audiences got less than stellar flicks like Daredevil, Elektra, Blade Trinity, though thankfully 2005’s Batman Begins did buck the trend and The Dark Knight took it to the next level.

Well, The Punisher, released in 2004, was a perfectly fine movie but hardly transcendent be it in terms of the violence but the story is rather basic and the villain as portrayed by John Travolta was serviceable but it seemingly appeared Travolta was in it for the paycheck, not really give it his all with a lackadaisical performance, though I do prefer its understatement versus the thing we got in the 2008 reboot, Punisher: War Zone.

On the plus side of things, however, I did like Thomas Jane in the lead role as he did come across a bit more realistic and I did like that he nicely conveyed the tortured character but not going overboard or over-the-top with it. The supporting cast also was fine from Rebecca Romijn probably thankful to be in a comic book movie without having to have her entire body painted… and Will Patton as Saint’s right-hand man had his usual intensity.

The Punisher, co-scripted and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh, is a far more grounded comic book film, so far less fantasy to where even Castle’s skull t-shirt is just something his son and wife picked up at some Puerto Rican shop. I kind of liked that element, that it was less fantastical and the action was gritty.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5


This release comes with a glossy slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All the features are on the 4K disc while the Blu-ray is a retread from the old release, meaning no features.

Audio Commentary – Director Jonathan Hensleigh

Deleted Scenes (3:12) – Here we only get two scenes, nothing of significance and unfortunately they didn’t seem to bother porting over the scenes from the extended cut release. Optional commentary from Hensleigh available.

Keepin’ It Real: Punisher Stunts (27:45) breaks down the stunt work done with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

Army of One: Punisher Origins (12:55) examines the comic book origins for the character.

War Journal: On the Set of The Punisher (29:59) provides some more behind-the-scenes footage and interviews talking about the detailed production process.

There’s also a Music Video (3:24) for “Step Up” by Drowning Pool and a Drawing Blood: Bradstreet Style (6:22) featurette on creating the promotional artwork.

 


VIDEO – 3.75/5


Lionsgate releases The Punisher onto 4K UHD where it’s presented with a 2160p high-definition transfer and in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio. My first impressions on this weren’t great. While the picture is certainly sharp, being this was already a dark looking movie, it doesn’t really benefit from the HDR. So I then decided to pop in the Blu-ray disc and… I can’t say there’s all that big of a difference between the two. While indeed it is slightly crisper by comparison, the black levels and coloring were pretty similar. By no means is this a poor transfer, just not exactly anything worthy of over-praise.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


The movie’s audio gets an upgrade from the DTS-ES 6.1 on the Blu-ray to Dolby Atmos on the UHD. While the video transfer didn’t blow me away, the audio here did. Not only is the dialogue levels clear, though to be fair it sounded about the same on the Blu-ray, but the impacts of the gunshots or the explosions really did a number on the home audio system with excellent depth, and the LFE channel clicking on for that extra measure.

 


OVERALL – 3.5/5


Overall, The Punisher is probably a mid-tier comic book movie (currently ranks #62 out of 90 on my comic books list) and while it’s certainly not great, I did find it mostly entertaining mainly for Thomas Jane rather than the plot or thinly written villain. The 4K release has good video, great audio and a solid selection of bonus features, though sucks they’re all on the 4K disc as I tend to watch these in another room and rather not have to view in my home theater…

 

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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