Friday, March 18, 2016

What's the Best Film?: The 'Punisher' Films

When there are so many Versions of one Film, how do you decide?  Well, good news- I'm here!

For absolutely no ulterior motive, let's begin this Series of Film-to-Film Comparisons with The Punisher...

To start, here are the 3 Films to compare...
Like 1-to-1 Film Match Ups in the Past, let's break this down into Categories.  Let me start with the big one...
The Lead

So, naturally, all of the people play 'Frank Castle.'  Duh.

Dolph Lundgren plays him like, well, Dolph Lundgren- only with less sleep.  Thomas Jane plays him as an emotionally-scarred loner.  Ray Stevenson plays him as a bleak killer that struggles to keep focused on his deadly work.

No offense, Dolph, but it is down to Thomas and Ray.  While both have their merits, I'm going with...
Winner: Punisher- War Zone
The Supporting Cast
A tricky one, since the whole Story of each Film make for very different groups.

In the '89 Film, we get an old Cop (Louis Gossett Jr.) tracking down our Hero.  In the '04 Film, we get a mixed-bag of Characters staying in the same building as our Lead.  In the '08 Film, we get Microchip- Frank's friend and helper- and the Family threatened by the villain.

No matter how people feel about the Film, this Cast is most memorable...
Winner: The Punisher (2004)
The Villain

An interesting match-up as they are all so different.

In the 1988 Version, he is an evil Yakuza Boss.  In the 2004 Version, he's a vengeful Mobster.  In the 2008 Version, he's a vengeful Mobster with a messed-up face and brother.

While one has a more complex Villain and another is just so different, I'm going with...
Winner: Punisher- War Zone
The Big Action Scene
I suppose it would be appropriate to simply match the Climax of each Film against each other, one Film has a stand-out moment earlier.

In the '89 Film, Castle and a Mobster (long story) fight Ninjas and Yakuza to rescue the latter's son.  In the '04 Film, Castle is attacked at home by the infamous Russian (Kevin Nash!) in a great scene.  In the '08 Film, the best Scene is arguably from the Intro where Castle sneak attacks some Mobsters at home in grand fashion.  A similar bit actually happens in the Dolph Version, but this is better.

Tough call.  I'm going with...
Winner: The Punisher (2004)
The Story
Yeah, I used the same graphic twice- sue me!

The 1989 Film features a zombie-like Castle pursued by a man from his past and forced to team up with those he hates to stop someone worse.  The 2004 Version features Castle's origin and a complex revenge scheme against the villain.  The 2008 Film is about a veteran Castle having a crisis of faith and learning to balance life and work.

There's no real loser here, but the one that worked best for me was...
Winner: Punisher- War Zone

So there you have it!  With a score of 3-2, the winner is Punisher: War Zone!

Don't take it too badly, Dolph Version- you just aren't as good as the others.  You do have Ninjas, so you get a sentimental point.

So before you lose yourself in Daredevil's 2nd Netflix Season, don't forget about The Punisher's real origins.  I'd do one of these for Daredevil, but...I can't exactly compare Daredevil to The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, can I?

Get on that, Bob!

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