If it's crap ... We'll tell you
After listening to the Spill review of the Expendables and acting skills of one Dolph Lundgren, I decided to re-visit one of the earlier ventures of said acting juggernaut. I had only read a couple of Punisher comics when I saw The Punisher (1989), and to my teenage mind, the movie version was a scarymo-fo.
Now to anyone saying WTF, I’m not claiming this on par with the Dark Knight or that Dolph Lundgren should have being given an Oscar. With hindsight I can agree it was full of terrible acting, the dialogue is crap, it had a bullet proof bus, and henchmen with degrees from the Storm-troopers Shooting Academy.
But I found a few good points which I’ll try to highlight;
Now I am not commenting on Dolph Lundgren’s acting skills, but IMHO, he nailed what I felt the Punisher should look like. He was obviously crazy and as the Co-Host 3000 pointed out in need of some serious help. He had
those huge bags under his eyes, indicating no sleep, and in a unique twist of Crazy™ the fact that his talks with God were only one-way was making him even nuttier. He lived in the sewer, didn’t shower, so you know he stank to high heavens (there’s a scene at the beginning where I swear one of the mafia henchmen smells him, and becomes agitated).
before going out to take care of baddies. I think that anyone being hunted by
the combined forces of the FBI, state police and God knows how many Mafia
hitmen, should be living in the sewers, and have more pressing problems than
keeping his boots clean and his costume pristine.
Plus Dolph Lundgren made him the ultimate bogeyman for kids; Grow up good, or else this smelly, hulk of insanity will hunt you down!
John Travolta, bless him, while usually good as the bad guy, just came off as pathetic and Dominic West's character should have being in an animated movie.
Contrast that with Lady Tanaka, who slit her own brother’s throat to take over the family! And didn’t shed any tears.
The she has the balls to kidnap the Mafia bosses kids and sell them into slavery! Think about that people, white slaves!! The only other movie I had ever seen at the time that involved slavery in modern days was a Michael Caine movie, Ashanti (the original Taken). As a teen, the concept of white slaves in the ‘90s was alien
to me.She poisons her enemies, or makes their kids watch them blow their own brains out. Worst mother-in-law ever, but based on image above, a MILF
Then there was her daughter, who was smoking hot and a mute (Korey must agree: genius!).
In addition, you know she probably had whips and handcuffs and …. I digress.
Then there was Gianni Franco, the only mob boss I have ever seen with the cojones to live up to the motto ‘if you want it done right, do it yourself’ and also prove once and for all, silenced automatic weapon (plus bullet-proof vest) beats sword every time. He’s so tough, when he gets shot in the chest (twice!), the impact of the bullets don’t crack any ribs or even seem to slow him down. That or he has a high threshold for pain, which makes him even more of a badass.
Anything time I think of the Punisher, I hear Dennis Dreith score in my head. In fact I think the other movies would have being greatly improved if they had decided to incorporate this score. There’s a fight scene between
Frank Castle and 2 Yakuza goons, with punch sound effects perfectly synchcronised with the score. It’s the way every fight I ever got into went down in my head (minus the impaling and stabbing parts), even the ones I lost.
I’ll quote the big man;
“They were my f**ing family too! Let me in!!...”
“Fine, if you want to die, f**k” you!!”.
Now give that brother an oscar! With a name like Jake Berkowitz, you know that role was meant for a white guy, but he made it his own. Denzel was probably taking notes. Plus he gets to beat up 2 goons, and make eating unhealthy (and most definitely unhygienic) pizza look cool.
Once when I was taking the bus home from school, and there was a guy singing about how he was a 'Kai-kai drinking machine' and it cracked me up. What can I say, Shake could have being that guy in white-face.
I can only say again, this was not a good movie, but it had it’s moments, and I think a solid foundation for what could have being a decent movie. In I think Dolph Lungren should make a sequel. 20 yrs on, and 2,000
criminals dead all across the country, he finally decides to take on the cartels in Mexico.
I can see it now, the Punisher and Machete team up!