Who’s In It: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Dough Hutchison, Colin Salmon, Wayne Knight, Dash Mihok, Julie Benz
The Basics: Is this a sequel to the one with Thomas Jane? Or is it part three of the trilogy that began with Dolph Lundgren back in the 1980s? The correct answer is “Who cares?” With a new guy, Ray Stevenson—finally, someone who seems capable of actually punishing a miscreant properly—who’s on that HBO show Rome, this one is about The Punisher reconsidering his career in punishing when he accidentally collateral-damages a good FBI guy. For a while he goes to work for 1-800-Flowers but then decides that punishing is still more awesome. And you get to set your own hours.
What’s The Deal: If you’re a person who craves movies that feel like they’re trying to stone you to death in your seat, then you should run right out and see this. I think more people die in more creatively violent ways in the opening five minutes than in all of the most recent Rambo movie. And that’s a lot of people. I know I’m a fan of this kind of thing. But if you’re someone like, say, my mom, who’s more into stuff like Nights in Rodanthe? You should stay away. You will not enjoy it. Not one bit.
There’s Always A Trade-Off: They could make guts-plosion movies like this witty or good looking or intelligent or well directed or imaginatively shot if they wanted to. But they know that we, the splatter fans, simply do not care. (Am I making this sound like a horror movie? Because it’s not. It’s just more bloodily violent than most of them.) As long as we can howl with pleasure when the bad guy’s face gets mangled in the bottle recycling machine or when a wine glass stem is used to pierce another bad guy’s neck, then we feel like we’ve been entertained. It’s like the top of every page of the first draft (there may have been a second, but it’s unlikely) had “MAKE IT HAPPEN TO THE FACE” written on it in big black Sharpie.
My Personal Favorite Death Moment: When The Punisher is holding a little girl in one arm and blasting a baddie’s entire head off with one shot at close range. This happens even though the cop who happens to be with The Punisher has the bad guy and needs no help at all. The Punisher is just showing off for this kid.
Another Thing I Liked: How The Punisher can just walk around the city in his punishment costume with the bulletproof leotard and giant skull across the chest and gleaming weaponry strapped to his sides and no one seems to notice. Or if they do they just think he's some supernerd who imagines his entire life is one big Comic-Con.