New World Pictures (Australia)/Marvel Entertainment/New World Pictures, Australia/USA, 1989
Director: Mark Goldblatt
Writer: Boaz Yakin
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, Bryan Marshall, Nancy Everhard, Barry Otto, Brian Rooney, Zoska Aleece, Kenji Yamaki, Hirofumi Kanayama, Larry McCormick, Todd Boyce, Lani John Tupu, Gianfranco Negroponte, Noga Bernstein, Emma Soloman, Courtney Keiler, Emily Nicol, Cathy Stirk, Dominic Baudish, Robert Fraser, James Klein, Fotis Pelekis, Christian Manon, Colin Leong, Brian McDermott, May Lloyd, Holly Rogers, Brooke Anderson, Lois Larimore, Harry Weiss, John Samaha, Robert Simper, Johnny Raaen, Lawrence Woodward, Tom Coltraine, Donal Gibson, David Arnett, Brett Williams, Al Gockimen, Colin Handley, Isao Hirata, Ken Wayne, David Morris, Richard Carter, Char Fontane, Aku Kadogo, Steve Kuhn, Roslyn Gentle, Maurice Brimo, Joanna Lambert, Arthur Sherman, Chris Hession, Jade Gatt
When Police Officer Frank Castle’s family was killed by a car bomb by the Mafia everyone thaught he died with them. He didn’t. Instead he went underground and resurfaced as “The Punisher”. He is out to avenge his family and to punish the guilty.
The Punisher is suspected of the murder of 125 members of organised crime during the last five years, and wanted by the law and the outlaws. When the head of the Franco crime family is released by the court, The Punisher, wipes out him, most of his men and blows his house up. The Franco family brings in Gianni Franco from Europe to take over as the new head. He brings new ideas about uniting the different crime familys and end the Mafia wars. The first joint Mafia venture is a huge shipload of drugs brought in by boat.
The Punisher is watching and about to interfere when the smugglers and the mobsters are attacked and killed, and the drugs end up on the bottom of the harbour. The attackers were the Yakuza wanting in on the american market as the Mafia is loosing it’s grip thanks to the Punisher’s war on them. The Mafia refuses to cooperate with the Yakuza so Lady Tanaka, head of the Yakuza, have the children of every Mafia family leader kidnapped.
The Punisher realises this was possible only as a result of his war against the Mafia. They are so weakened they no longer can protect their own. He attacks the place where the children are kept and manages to free all but Tommy Franco, Gianni’s son. As the Punisher delivers the children to their familys he is arrested and put in a cell. Next day when he is being transfered to a proper jail the transport is attacked and he is taken from the police by Francos men.
Gianni Franco wants his help to find and rescue Tommy and he threatens to kill Franks ex-partner if he doesn’t agree. So the Punisher and the crime lord heads off together to attack the Yakuza headquarter and try to find Tommy.
The Punisher was one of my favourite Marvel heroes when I was a kid, and I think Dolph Lundgren does a very good interpretation of the comic book hero. The part is perfect for him as even his flaws as an actor is an advantage. Where I live the film was banned upon release so untill movie censorship was abolished many years later all we had was really bad pirated third or fourth generation VHS-tapes but I still loved this film. Today 30 years later I still love it.
My verdict: 7 out of 10.