Punisher No Punishment!

Last night I was able to see the latest Marvel page-to-screen adaptation. As the title suggests it was The Punisher and, well, me rikey.

Note: For title complaints please see DiscoKid of #p2p “fame” (sorcery.net).

Thomas Jayne plays the title character facing off against his arch nemesis played by John Travolta. Rebecca Romijn (now single) and Laura Harring “round” out the cast. Yes, yes, I skipped a few people, but you shouldn’t need more info after Rebecca and Laura. For those of you cinematically deficient she was 1/2 of the most glorious sammich ever (with Naomi Watts) in Mulholland Drive.

The movie starts off fairly slowly, giving neophytes to the world of Frank Castle a chance to acclimate and get their bearings before it wades into the good stuff. We begin with a blonde Castle as an undercover officer brokering an arms deal in a FBI sting. The plan is that Castle will be “killed” by the feds during the deal giving his character a clean exit from the operation. The plan goes south when one of the crooks loses it and opens fire on the police. We learn that this (now dead) man is the son of John Travolta’s character and wealthy banker/mafia don/crime lord/etc. Needless to say he’s not pleased. He does what any good crime lord does and learns the identity and location of Castle and sends his troops to eliminate him along with a special request from his ravishing wife – “kill his family”.

We cut through some touchy-feely stuff to a family reunion of Castle?s family hosted by his father, the Captain of the SeaQuest, Roy Schnider. We see the black-clad forces approach the 30-strong party with Castle and his father in the house looking over some conveniently placed weaponry. Fast-forward and everyone save Castle and his wife and son are dead. They flee, pursued by the remaining baddies pursued by Castle himself. Let?s just say it ends badly.

The remainder of the movie his Castle exacting a special kind of vengeance punishment for the crime. I spent a lot of time on the exposition because I plan to breeze through the rest of the movie rather quickly. A considerable amount of information would be lost in the translation. Castle wades through the hit-men and muscle Travolta sends his way and sets up detailed revenge scheme resulting in Travolta himself killing his best friend and wife for cheating.

The plot after the initial exposition is silly. Quite frankly it?s my only real beef with this movie. Frank Castle, The Punisher, is not about elaborate plots or tricky bullshit. He?s about death; however that?s accomplished is not a matter for much forethought. The only scene that lived up to this was the long brawl with a Russian assassin at the halfway point. The fights before and after were simply eye-candy and gunplay.

It?s fitting that this movie was released the same week as the Kill Bill v1 DVD and the same day as Kill Bill v2 ? they are all nasty gore-fest-slasher-flics gone amok. It?s good shit, but be prepared.

A few things to note: We saw the movie in the AMC theater in one of the Milwaukee Mayfair mall. It was expansive, clean and a most excellent experience. The seats could have reclined like in my beloved Marcus, but generally speaking they were dandy. I had no idea that you could see a movie and have food DELIVERED. The only knock I have against said theater is that it suffers from the same wussy attitude regarding children in movies that shouldn?t have children in them.