I got out to the flicks again tonight, this time to see The Punisher. I’m not a big fan of the comic book but a friend has been excited about the movie and it made me keen to see it on the big screen.
It’s a good movie- good, but not great. Thomas Jane was very good as Frank Castle (although he looks eerily like a clone of Christopher Lambert) and I enjoyed the movie (mission accomplished, say I) but I was left feeling like it could have been better. It feels like a proper traditional action movie, with good old fashioned effects, but it lacked a certain style. There was nothing special to lift it up onto the “next level”. Even a bit of creative cinematography would have been enough to do it but the filming and direction felt a little pedestrian to me- not bad, but not special either. Which is a shame because it was fantastic source material to be working from.
According to the trivia page on IMDB, the movie’s action scenes had to be scaled back or even cut to stay on budget, and knowing that, you can tell that it’s not all it should have been. It’s a shame- personally I would have preferred a little more violence, with a grander shoot-out at the climax. I’m not asking for A Better Tomorrow 2 or anything, but a little bit more flash would have really topped the film off. Nothing fancy, just a bigger shoot-out. It’s a bit like Hellboy- good but should have been better. But go see it anyway. The scenes with the pro from Memphis and the Russian are worth the price of admission/rental.