Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Unusual Punishment

Who is your favorite Punisher? We've seen the Thomas Jane version, the Lexi Alexander/Ray Stevenson version, and the John Bernthal version in the Daredevil TV series. Now, we've also seen the first film version: Dolph Lundgren in Punisher (1989).

It starts with Frank Castle blowing up a mob boss mansion with the boss (and himself) inside. So the Punisher is now dead, although police detective (Lou Gossett Jr.) is still watching out for the vigilante decimating the underworld. He even gets some help from a cute partner, Nancy Everhard.

Meanwhile, the Yakoooza are moving into the vacuum left by Castle. They kidnap the children of the remaining mobsters as leverage. Now, the mob and Castle will have to work together to get them safe.

All through this, Lundgren rides around in the sewers on a motorcycle, looking about 2 smudges of eyeliner away from an Adam Ant video. Seeing him meditating naked in the sewers would be more badass if he didn't cross his eyes. But when he starts fighting, oh boy, look out. It's particularly fun to see him go up against the Yakuza ninjas, whose leader, played by Kim Miyori, looks great in black skintight jumpsuit.

It's funny how closely this story tracks the Daredevil version, right down to the Yakuza. I was expecting to see a Castle more like John Bernthal: beat-up and lumpy faced. Instead, he is quite the handsome chisel-cheeked New Wave haircut boy. Of course, the whole movie stinks of the 80s, so maybe I'm just picking up background radiation.

Anyway, I think our favorite Punisher movie is the Lexi Alexander, and John Bernthal our favorite Punisher. But we love Dolph in this, and in fact went and watched Johnny Mnemonic next, to see him as Street Preacher. Halt sinners!

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