I love this film. Its the traditional origin story for a comic book hero, and as such will have to take critiscism from fans, because its unlikely going to stick to whatever the character experienced in the comic backgrounds. This particular film, in fact, is frowned upon because it does take a while to build up to Thomas Jane's Punisher stepping onto the screen. But this is crucial: we need to know his family, we need to know his pain. We need to know what drives him to being the man without mercy...and after the wrenching first act, and he puts on that scary skull shirt...oooooffff. John Travolta hams it up to aplomb as the villain Howard Saint, but in no bad way. Tom Jane's excellent as our vengeancistic hero.The supporting cast are all wonderful; Will Patton, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ben Foster, Roy Scheider (personal hero)...! Oh and theres a famous wrestler in there, Wrestling fans... The action is punchy; short and bloody without the need for explosive set pieces. Its quite a short feeling film; there is no massive action scene and it does feel slightly as if it was filmed in a weekend. But... Its not at fault. I'll tell you what the real steal is though; the MUSIC. Carlo Siliotto creates a wondrously morose theme and goes with it. The score soundtrack is sublime.
On Blu Ray, it just LOOKS amazing. Enough said. The extras are all the same as the DVD, and the commentary with director Jonathan Hensleigh is very listenable. Recommended.
Not a sequel, but not a remake. We start with Frank Castle already the punisher, and although it retells the origin in flashback in literally ten seconds, it never feels as if its rewriting its prequel. Its not as good, and for me it does suffer such. Ray Stevenson makes a great Frank, but i preferred Tom Jane. Dominic West is hilariously over the top as Jigsaw and his loony bin brother is frankly so Comic Book that i was jaw-dropping surprised to discover he ISN'T based on a comic character. Colin Salmon's brooding sweary DI is an interesting role, and unfortunately Soap is rubbish. I felt the need to strangle the man at too many points. The supporters do not have the sheen or quality as those in the previous film...most of them less well known that they'd like. The plot is fairly straightforwards; Jigsaw is going to rally every gang in town to destroy the Punisher. Nice. Lots of excuses then for grisly, violent deaths, using every manner of weaponry imaginable. But, crucially, the film retains the 'heart'; Frank kills an undercover agent in the prologue, and spends the film trying to apologise to the grieving widow...and the little girl, when she takes his hand...its warming, thats what it is. Music isn't as good, not by a long shot. I only wish it had been a direct Tom Jane / Carlo Siliotto sequel, then it would have been AMAZING.
On Blu Ray it actually looks crisper than the first film on Blu: whether they put more effort into the transfer or not i am unsure. Extras are humdrum and nothing exciting. Though some of the background info was vaguely interesting.
Great price for Two Films as is, and the fact that they're linked by the character (unfortunately not by actor) makes a good product for fans. The box looks ace on your shelf.