Marvel’s The Punisher – Teaser Trailer

There have been three movie incarnations of The Punisher since he was created by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. in 1974, and while a popular character in comics, his movies never quite seemed to connect with audiences.

The first movie was in 1978, with Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle/The Punisher.  It was okay, though he never displayed the the iconic skull emblem the character is known for (this lack of fidelity to the character was made up by it being somewhat gory).

The next version was in 2004 with Thomas Jane (who while physically is probably a bit short, he brought acting chops beyond Lundgren’s). It was okay, but failed in some really peculiar ways, such as as some underwhelming special effects and odd story beats (what I like to call the ‘fire hydrant scene’ is pretty bizarre).

Though at least he wore the iconic skull.

Thomas Jane also appeared in a short as The Punisher in 2012 (The Punisher: Dirty Laundry).

The Punisher next made another appearance in 2008 (This time played by Ray Stevenson) in Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone.  

Easily the best interpretation of the character in movies–though some of the violence was way over the top and more cartoonish than anything seen prior–Stevenson brought the size of Lundgren, and the acting chops of Jane to the role.

Though it still underperformed in theaters.

Enter 2017, and the Punisher is back.  Introduced in season two of Marvel’s Daredevil and graduating to his own series (a better format for the character than movies) Jon Bernthal brings us a Punisher worthy of the name.

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The Punisher We Need

For some reason Marvel Comics’ Punisher has been a difficult nut to crack–despite the fact that the character is essentially Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) from 1974’s Death Wish, a movie that went on to do pretty well at the box office.

His first appearance was in New World Pictures 1984 movie The Punisher, and despite the criticism that surrounds that movie, wasn’t terrible–which isn’t to imply that it was great, though it was enjoyable in its own way–and Dolph Lindgren (and his ever-present Swedish accent) interpreted the material pretty well.

Unfortunately, not even the Punisher couldn’t get people into theaters, and the movie flopped.

The character was revisited again in LionsGate’s 2004 movie The Punisher, this time starring Thomas Jane.

Jane does pretty well in the role, despite not being as physically similar to the character as Lundgren.

And it once again underperforms–despite that if you move forward ten years to 2014 Denzel Washington starred in the successful movie interpretation of The Equalizer (based on a 1985 CBS television series) who essentially IS the Punisher.

Lionsgate tried again in 2008 with Punisher: War Zone which was similar in tone to the 1984 movie (with its violence intact and intensified, if nothing else).

And it too didn’t do that well, and since you’d be lucky to get one chance at success, never mind three, you’d be safe in assuming that the Punisher had killed his last opponent. Continue reading

The Veil – Review

“Some Shrouds Obscure The End Of The World. “

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Phil Joanou’s The Veil isn’t a particularly good movie, though it’s least interesting (and before I begin in earnest I have to mention the cinematography of Steeven Petitteville–according to IMDB and the movie’s credits that’s how his–I assume he’s a he–name is spelled–does great lighting.  His work is naturalistic, with lots of contrast between light and shadow, which complements the movie’s bleached-out color palate) and in its own way, quite ambitious–particularly when things go pseudo-Lovecraft.

Both Ti West’s The Sacrament (2013) and The Veil are at heart retellings of the  Jonestown massacre, where 909 Americans killed themselves, led by the Rev. Jim Jones (Thomas Jane, in The Veil plays Jim Jacobs–clearly a play on ‘Jim Jones’–like a fanatical Jim Morrison).

The difference being, while West essentially retells the story of the original massacre in the–at the time–present day, Phil Joanou introduces a supernatural element that at least serves to differentiate it from the horrific event that inspired it.  And while Robert Ben Garant’s screenplay is a bit dopey, it’s at least novel (and you can’t fault it for a lack of ambition).

As I wrote earlier, the movie itself is interesting, until it falls too deeply into the gyre of horror movie cliches (when things start going to shite people who should know better decide to stick around, as opposed to hightailing it out of there) and people start doing things because the screenplay says that they should, as opposed to any sort of human process of reasoning.

The Veil comes courtesy Blumhouse Tilt, though be careful, because some shrouds obscure the end of the world.

‘Drive Hard’ Trailer

Wen I first heard of this trailer, the first thing that came to mine was the Nick Cage vehicle, Drive Angry.

Though this actually looks pretty interesting.  And sure, you can tell virtually the entire movie from the trailer (guy gets ends up driving for criminal, criminal robs mob (or some such organization), guy reluctantly participates and becomes an accessory before he goes along with the criminal for reasons of his own.

But do you know what?  John Cusack and Thomas Jane appear to actually bring enough chemistry to their roles that it makes what is a particularly tired canard seem pretty interesting.

Has Marvel Found Its Punisher?

Punisher skullWith Marvel Studios’ Guardians Of The Galaxy coming August 1st, there’s a lot of speculation as to what other characters they will bring to the big screen.

That combined with Marvel being interested in working with Aaron Eckhart on an unnamed project, I wonder if it’s a relaunch of the Punisher.  It’s important to notice that the article was written 11 months ago, before Marvel had regained the rights to the character.

There were three movies based on him, with Dolph Lundgren in 1989, Thomas Jane in 2004 (who also starred in a short film, The Punisher: Dirty Laundry in 2012) and most recently, Ray Stevenson in Punisher: War Zone in 2008).

Lundgren’s portrayal was actually pretty decent, but also tends to be the most maligned in terms of public perception (it didn’t help that he lacked certain characteristics that the Punisher is known for, like the skull insignia on his chest).

Aaron Eckhart certainly has the physical chops for the role, so if that’s Marvel’s plan, he’d be great for it.  Another important point to mention is that there are numerous fan films based on the Punisher, two of which I featured here.

They’re a tribute to the popularity and longevity of the character, and I hope that Marvel can see that people want to see more of Frank Castle.

The Punisher: Dead Of Night

The Punisher: No Mercy

 

 

‘Dirty Laundry’ Featuring Marvel’s Punisher

Thomas Jane strikes me as a really neat guy, mainly because he seems to care about things.  This interests me because, for afar, it often seems that many actors do what they can to isolate themselves from their fans to such a degree that they appear as cyphers.

Not Jane.  He’s also not afraid to let his geek flag fly, if the choice of films he stars in is any indicator, as well as the clip below, illustrate.

It was presented at Comic-con, and it features the Punisher, whom Thomas Jane portrayed in the 2004 film.  The character was rebooted four years later in “Punisher: War Zone” though that time he was played by Ray Stevenson.

As I said, from what little I know about Jane, I think that I would like him if I met him, though I don’t think that the’s a great Punisher, as opposed to Ray Stevenson, or even Dolph Lundgren, who in a physical sense better fit the character.

Which is the biggest hurdle for me:  Thomas Jane lacks the physical presence to carry off the role.  When you watch “Dirty Laundry” he goes through the motions, and that’s exactly what it feels like.

The Punisher intimidates.  You fear the Punisher long before he lays a hand, or a knife, upon you.  He’s more like a force of nature than a person, and an actor is needed who can bring a fierceness, a dangerousness, to the fore.

Which, based upon what I have seen, it just isn’t Thomas Jane, despite the fact that he clearly loves the character (which is the only reason that I think that he would revisit him with no prompting; though if I were a bit more cynical, I would wonder if it had anything to do with the Punisher making the move to the small screen).

You Can’t Keep A Good Punisher Down

Frank Castle, when his family is gunned down by mobsters, declares an all-out war on crime as The Punisher.  As a comic character, his popularity at times has approached that of DC Comics’ Batman, though he never successfully made the leap to feature films.

First Dolph Lundgren tackled the character, and while physically his portrayal was an accurate one, it felt a bit off.

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