The Punisher 2004

Critics score:
29 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: A movie as one-dimensional as its antihero. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Thomas Jane is just wooden and buff enough to pull off the role. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: A revenge scenario so simple it could have been created on a playground. Read more

Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune: In a case study of how to screw up a simple, powerful revenge story, director Jonathan Hensleigh punishes audiences with an unbearably sluggish action movie that requires the word 'action' to be placed in quotes. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: There's something to be said for letting a comic book adaptation operate at the level of a comic book, dispensing cheap laughs and ice-cold sadism. Read more

Mark Rahner, Seattle Times: This is an improvement over the unspeakable 1989 Punisher with Dolph Lundgren, but too often just seems like an unintentional parody. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: A sickeningly manipulative, by-the-numbers revenge movie. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: ... a lot of fun. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The ad for it claims, The Punishment Begins April 16. And boy, does it. About 1 hour, 59 minutes worth of punishment. Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: A ridiculously violent revenge story with no redeeming value. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Thrill-less garbage that aspires to franchisehood. Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: An uneven yet workable mix of deft humor, slam-bang action and colorful pulp-novel punch. Read more

Michael Booth, Denver Post: Hensleigh, co-writer with Michael France, makes the paint-by-numbers of organized-crime movies look fresh by tapping good actors and sleek camera work. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: A moronically inept and tedious piece of death-wish trash. Read more

Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail: An overemphatic revenge fantasy devoid of even a trace of excitement or wit. Read more

Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News: For an action movie written and directed by a guy who has written a lot of lively flicks, The Punisher is surprisingly inactive, full of long, slow stretches punctuated by perfunctory car chases, shoot-outs and-or fist fights. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: Hensleigh wants to make a hard-ass, old-school vigilante drama a la Death Wish, but there's no visceral charge to his bloodletting, or any sense that what Castle is doing is really for the betterment of society. Read more

Gene Seymour, Newsday: [Hensleigh's] trying to pack in too much and the density clogs the narrative machinery. Read more

Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger: For those who can stomach two hours of brain-dead brutality, the film has more laughs than most comedies. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: Tom Jane is a great-looking Punisher, darkly handsome and chiseled, even if the movie goes nowhere with the character. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: There isn't a moment in The Punisher that isn't borrowed or stolen from another movie. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Its lack of subtlety is clearly a point of pride, and Mr. Hensleigh's flat-footed, hard-punching style has a blunt ferocity that makes Kill Bill look like In the Bedroom. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: It may be pulp, but at least it's good solid pulp. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Think of what might happen if someone grafted parts of Batman and Robin onto The Crow, and you'll have an idea of how unpalatable The Punisher is. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The Punisher is so grim and cheerless, you wonder if even its hero gets any satisfaction from his accomplishments. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Gets us lost early in the first half-hour and never succeeds in completely luring us in. Read more

Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle: An entertaining, if silly, film adaptation of the Marvel comic. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: In this by-the-numbers payback melodrama, even the explosions seem half-hearted. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The graphic nature of the violence that makes The Punisher hard to recommend without serious caveats. Read more

Time Out: Ultimately, Frank's victim -to-vigilante transformation is so morally unexplored it's emotionally alienating. Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: Trashy and disturbingly violent yet fairly zippy and amusingly cast. Read more

Joe Leydon, Variety: Pic plays like a paint-by-numbers pilot for bygone basic-cable teleseries. Read more

Benjamin Strong, Village Voice: Mismanages its greatest asset: an unusual embarrassment of camp riches. Read more