Superhero Films – The Punisher (1989)

Marvel dips its toe into the superhero cinema with its most popular violent anti-hero – The Punisher!

After the character of Howard the Duck introduced a Marvel Comics character to the big-screen, only three short years later fans would get to see another Marvel hero leap from the comic pages to movie screens. Holy mackerel were fans getting spoiled back in the 80’s!

This time out it’s Frank Castle aka The Punisher played by Dolph Lundren.

Castle is an ex-cop whose family has been murdered by powerful criminals. After seeing them walk away without any repercussions Castle takes to the city sewers, sets up shop and becomes The Punisher.

His mission – to become the city’s judge, jury and executioner. He becomes a deadly vigilante and won’t rest until those responsible for murdering his family are punished severely!

As Castle becomes a superhuman force unleashing lots of gratuitous violence, his ex-partner Jake Berkowitz is trying to catch up to his old friend and stop him from filling the city with bullets, explosions and a growing mountain of bad guy bodies.

This war between the Punisher and the city mob families have forced former crime boss Gianni Franco (Jeroen Krabbe) out of retirement to solve this ‘Punisher problem’.

However, Franco quickly learns it’s not just the Punisher who he has to contend with. The deadly Asian crime family the Yakuza is staking claim on the criminal underworld. Led by the no-nonsense Lady Tanaka (Kim Miyori) the Yakuza want to takeover all control of the cities criminal activities.

She means business, even going so far as kidnapping all the children of the mob bosses in order to make them comply with her demands.

At first this sounds like a good deal for Castle, who would be just fine watching this war continue and allow these rival families kill each other. But what about the innocent children? Is Castle willing to watch them be sacrificed in this bloody battle or does he have a small piece of humanity left and can’t let that happen?

Cue lots of guns, explosions, chases, stabbings and enough cheesy action that would make any 80’s action fan squeal with delight.

Starring Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeroen Karbbe and Kim Miyori. I go back and check out a film that unmistakably feels like a 1980’s action flick with all the gratuitous violence that fans were accustomed to seeing – The Punisher.

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