Friday, 13 January 2017

Film Review | Narrative and Character | The Punisher

Fig 1. The Punisher Movie Poster
Jonathan Hensleigh's adaptation of Marvel's "The Punisher" was released in 2004.
Featuring Thomas Jane as Frank Castle and John Travolta as Howard Saint.

The movie acts as an origin story of "The Punisher", which much like the comic books, Frank Castle is an ex solider who loses his family because of murder. In the movie Frank goes undercover for his job in the police force to apprehend Bobby saint and his accomplice for dealing in guns. Frank gets shot during this deal whilst disguised as Otto. Bobby Saint also gets shot in the gunfight with the FBI. Although Frank lived because of his protective vest that shielded bullets, Bobby was not so lucky and died from his wounds.

It's the death of Bobby that brings the main opposing character to Frank Castle into play. This character is Howard Saint. Bobby Saint's Father. Howard discovers that Frank was not killed when undercover and hires a group of henchmen lead by Quentin and another Saint son, Howard's remaining son to eliminate Frank's family in their entirety including Frank whilst on holiday

Fig 2. Frank with his dead Wife and Son
When the whole of Franks family has been killed, Howard's son and crew advance on Frank and attempt to kill him by shooting him then exploding the floor he falls upon. This leaves them with the idea that Frank is finally dead and gone. The "witch doctor" saves Frank and treats all of his wounds and help him recover.

After travelling to the place it all happened, Frank gathers some guns and heads back to his home city where Howard and Co are. With anger in his belly he is ready to make everyone pay for what they did to his family. Frank is now at one with himself and now believes the old Frank died with his family, he is now "The Punisher"

Frank moves into an old dilapidated building that's got 3 other residents living there.
Frank doesn't really talk to anyone and attempt to kill himself many nights. He instead decides he wants revenge Howard Saint. With this he plans to rip everything out of Howard's life, much like he did to Frank.

It's very clever how Frank manages to pull this off. He organises it so that it appears Howard wife has cheated on him with his best friend. So obviously Howard kills them both. But not only that, Frank intends to go to Howard's main hub "Saints and Sinners" to kill anyone who was involved with the death of his family. It's a true bloodbath, many different deaths to many different men. Eventually Frank finds Howard's last remaining son and ties his hand to a grenade so that if he moves it will blow up. A few moments pass and it does explode but of course not before Frank finds Howard so he can witness Howard listening to his son die.

After all the trials and fighting, Frank finally got his man. revenge time. Or should we say punishment time.

Franks ties Howard to the back bumper of a car then puts a brick on accelerate. When the car speeds off we can see that each car is exploding as Howard reaches them. This sets him on fire and the camera cuts to a birds eyes shot of all of the exploded cars, leaving a clear punisher skull made out of the wreckage.

Fig 3. Car park after Howard's Death

Image Sources

Fig 1. The Punisher [Film Poster] At: Accessed 12/01/2017

Fig 2. Frank with his dead Wife and Son  [Film Screenshot] At: Accessed 12.01.2017

Fig 3. Car park after Howard's death [Film Screenshot] At: Accessed 12/01/2017

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