The Punisher is based on the - particularly violent - Marvel comic book of the same name from the seventies, where a former FBI agent has his family murdered and goes out for revenge his own way.
Whereas today, Marvel movies are given huge budgets ala The Avengers, Thor and Iron Man, this one was handed out to a little-known Australian company to make. The results being that The Avengers, Thor and Iron man it is not.
Every character is pretty stereotypical and one-dimensional. The dialogue is a bit forced. The budget is slim and the story hardly inspired. All in all, it has all the hallmarks of a disaster in the making. Yet it's actually pretty cool... if you know what you're getting.
It's a blatant B-movie. It's like actually watching a live action comic book. You wouldn't expect Oscar-worthy dialogue and acting from a comic book, would you? Hopefully not. So don't expect it here. It's a movie designed to munch popcorn to. It has plenty of explosions, killing of badguys and cheeky one-liners from our strong and silent hero, The Punisher.
They ever remade it (twice), but, despite having bigger budgets, better acting and more bankable stars, neither seemed to quite capture the raw comicbook style which the 1989 version managed.
If you're a fan of cheesy eighties action (think Commando, Rambo and almost any Jean Claude Van Damme film) then give this one a go. It's short and to the point, but mainly great mindless fun.