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The Punisher may have found new life through Daredevil on Netflix, but that actually wasn’t the first time the character had appeared on screen. The Punisher has actually had three movies made about him and each one was more mediocre than the last. While we celebrate that someone finally got Marvel’s number one anti-hero right, let’s not forget the long road it took to get us to that Netflix series and who better to remember bad movies than Cinema Sins?
The YouTube channel Cinema Sins is known for nitpicking the mistakes and logic gaps in just about every movie (even the good ones) but this one is pretty fair. The particular Punisher film in question is the 2004 version starring Thomas Jane. This movie came out at a weird time for superhero films, which got a major boom in popularity thanks to Spider-Man but still produced massive dips in quality (like Catwoman). Enter The Punisher, which is really neither good nor bad and instead is a mostly forgettable (barely) superhero movie at the end of the day.
As Cinema Sins points out, there are a ton of mistakes in this film. I had actually forgotten a lot of this movie but the one thing I did remember was the Popsicle torture scene and thinking that if this were Punisher, there’s no way he wouldn’t be using an actual blowtorch on this guy. Plus, there’s the crazy amount of focus on Frank Castle’s neighbors, who I like to imagine are the grown up versions of Bulk and Skull from Power Rangers. Another character who gets absolutely slaughtered in the video is John Travolta’s mob boss villain, who’s so completely unthreatening he doesn’t even present much of a challenge at the end of the film.
This isn’t the only Punisher movie and it’s not even the worst. That award arguably goes to the first Punisher movie from 1989 that starred Dolph Lundgren. That’s an eighties movie through and through and here’s a RoboCop-esque trailer for those who’d like an idea of what the movie is like. It’s only a matter of time before Cinema Sins sets this one in their sights.
Everything’s looking up for Frank Castle now. He just came out of a pretty awesome debut into the MCU in Daredevil Season Two, where he almost stole the show from the title character. Played by Jon Bernthal, he’ll be showing up in his own Netflix series soon enough, with possibly an appearance in The Defenders. There’s no word on when this new series premiere but keeping checking in for all your Punisher updates.