Blade, released in 1998, was the precursor of a movement X-Men confirmed in 2000: movies based on comic books are the next big thing. Sure, comic book movies have been continuously made for a long time, but never in such numbers and on such a high profile. The publishing company Marvel Comics can largely be credited for this, as while they’d been pretty careless with selling their movie rights in the past, they started to take more control in the mid-nineties, resulting in the first few films to come out of the trend, including the two previously mentioned. It’s been non-stop since then, with 2008 seeing at least seven films based on comic books released in the world. The Punisher is also based on a Marvel property, which had previously been brought to the screen in a fun 1989 B-movie starring Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier).
Frank Castle is an FBI agent undercover on an arms deal in Tampa, Florida. The deal is busted, and an unexpected participant is killed in the process: one of local mobster Howard Saint’s sons. Stricken by grief, Saint sends his men to kill Castle and his whole family in Puerto Rico, where they are having a reunion. Castle miraculously survives the massacre, if barely, and is nursed back to health by some witch doctor dude. Driven by rage, Frank Castle returns to Tampa, seeking to punish Howard Saint and his organization for the harm they have caused. He is now the Punisher.
The Punisher was the directing debut for action screenwriter extraordinaire Jonathan Hensleigh (Next), who co-wrote the flick with Michael France (Fantastic Four). It stars Thomas Jane (The Mist), John Travolta (Hairspray), Rebecca Romijn (the X-Men films), Ben Foster (30 Days Of Night), Roy Scheider (Jaws 1 & 2) in a small role, wrestler Kevin Nash (Dead Or Alive) and country singer Mark Collie (Fire Down Below) among others. Trailer and review after the jump.