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Punisher (1989)
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Punisher (1989)

This is an adaptation of a popular, violent Marvel Comics series about a character who's a frontier-style vigilante in modern-day urban America. Dolph Lundgren stars as Frank Castle, once a crusading police officer whose family was murdered by a car bomb planted by the Mob. Believed to be killed in the explosion, Castle has gone underground, building a subterranean lair in the sewer system and vengefully assassinating various criminals, wracking up an impressive body count of 125 slain in five years. Castle's former partner, Jake Berkowitz (Louis Gossett, Jr.) rightly suspects that he knows the true identity of the motorcycle-riding avenger dubbed 'the Punisher.' Meanwhile, Castle's bloody campaign has had the intended effect of weakening organized crime, creating an opportunity to consolidate power for the ambitious Gianni Franco (Jeroen Krabbe), the man responsible for the Castle family hit. Sensing an opportunity to muscle in on new lucrative turf, foreign competitors threaten Franco's empire. When the Japanese yakuza has the crime boss' innocent son kidnapped, Castle finds himself in the ironic position of helping a man he'd like to kill. Filmed in Australia, this low-budget action thriller did not get a theatrical release in the U.S., instead going directly to video.
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Punisher (1989)
CRITICS OF "Punisher (1989)"

June 24, 2004

Often underrated comic-book adaptation that lacks the trademark skull logo but delivers the superhero presence that the Thomas Jane remake sadly lacks.
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

February 15, 2015

It maintained a tongue in cheek attitude toward all the violence and hokum, which made it comic book lite and easier to take.
TV Guide

April 24, 2009

Carefully tended facial stubble trimmed to give him a skull-like appearance, Lundgren is truly impressive as a character defined by emotional emptiness.

March 26, 2009

With origins in a Marvel Comics character, The Punisher is, as might be expected, two-dimensional.
Fantastica Daily

September 29, 2005

A terrible one-man-army action flick. The 2004 version is far more effective.
Greg's Previews at Yahoo! Movies

April 28, 2003

The only positive spin I can put on this movie is that if bad comic adaptations like it hadn't been done in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Marvel never would have needed to have its current, high-quality big-screen resurgence.
Apollo Guide

December 07, 2002

The real problem is that it just isn't very exciting.

April 18, 2004

Marred by cheeseball sets and special effects, lame fight sequences, and some of the worst acting ever to disgrace the screen.
Cinema em Cena

May 01, 2004

É difícil escolher o que é pior: os diálogos risíveis, a direção amadora, as lutas nada convincentes, a péssima atuação (oh!) de Lundgren ou sua "maquiagem de deprimido".
Time Out

June 24, 2006

Destructive, reprehensible, and marvellous fun.
Montreal Film Journal

July 31, 2005

Much better than the 2004 version. A surprisingly potent blast of '80s action moviemaking.