The Punisher

  • 18
  • Jonathan Hensleigh (2004)
  • US / Ger
  • 118 min
The Punisher
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Based on the Marvel comic of the same name, this faithful take obliterates the 1989 Dolph Lundgren version. The feature debut of Die Hard with a Vengeance's screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh, it's loud, fast and extremely vicious. Deep Blue Sea star Tom (then Thomas) Jane plays former FBI special agent Frank Castle, who turns vigilante when his family is gunned down on the orders of Florida Mob boss John Travolta. Dressed literally to kill in the antihero's trademark skull-emblazoned T-shirt, Jane has the cool air of a superhuman rock star as he orchestrates the darkest of retributions. There's no let up in the destruction and violence, nor is there any semblance of reality. The film's every element, from costumes to scenery, seems to be engineered for ultimate ocular effect, while even reliable actors such as Rebecca Romijn-Stamos are eclipsed by Travolta's excessive theatrics. Consequently, although the murder sequences of Castle's wife and son are painfully tragic, there's no real emotion, only visual spectacle, in everything that follows.

Plot Summary

Action crime thriller based on the Marvel comic, starring Tom Jane, John Travolta, Laura Harring and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. Undercover FBI special agent Frank Castle agrees to one final operation before retiring, but it all goes wrong when Florida gangster Howard Saint's son is killed in the process. Swearing revenge for his child, Saint orders the murder of Castle and his entire family. But Castle survives, and sets out to destroy every aspect of Saint's life.

Cast and crew


Frank Castle / The Punisher
Thomas Jane
Howard Saint
John Travolta
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Quentin Glass
Will Patton
Frank Castle Sr
Roy Scheider
Livia Saint
Laura Harring
Spacker Dave
Ben Foster
Maria Castle
Samantha Mathis
John Saint / Bobby Saint
James Carpinello
Jimmy Weeks
Russell Andrews
Micky Duka
Eddie Jemison
Mr Bumpo
John Pinette
The Russian
Kevin Nash
Harry Heck
Mark Collie


Jonathan Hensleigh

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Columbia TriStar
Violence, swearing, a sex scene, brief nudity.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 24 Sep 2004
Certificate 18
Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video