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The Punisher in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Punisher

Tom Jane • John Travolta • Samantha Mathis
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Hensleigh

The Punisher THE CONCEPT:
The movie is based on Marvel Comic’s unstoppable vigilante, The Punisher. Frank Castle (Jane) has just completed his last case as a FBI agent, where the son of business tycoon Howard Saint (Travolta) is inadvertently killed. Out for revenge, Saint massacres Castle’s entire family, including his wife and young son. Castle survives the attack, and revenges his family’s death, which is the beginning of a new superhero, The Punisher. He has no superpowers, only his fierce intelligence, his years of combat experience and his iron determination to avenge those wronged by society’s villains.

U.S. RELEASE: April 16 2004, Nationwide • Rated: R


“I’ve never considered myself a superhero. Marvel had come after me for a couple of different superhero parts and I’ve turned them down, as I did this one initially, because I didn’t see myself as a superhero kind of person. But as Marvel was quick to point out, this really was an antihero. He didn’t have any super powers. He relied on this God-given talents and his wits to overcome his enemies and that became much more interesting to me, because I’ve been wanting to play this kind of antihero since I was a kid.”

“I think the key here is the more serious Howard Saint was, the funnier he became. I wasn’t sure I was going to play him this way until the last minute because I had to see what Thomas Jane was doing. When I found out he was playing it dead serious, I thought, ‘okay. I’m going to play it subtle and serious and it will be funny.’ It’s funny because most comic strip movies think they have to do the other, and the more we played it like we were in a Scorsese movie, the funnier it became.”

“John Travolta is a great guy. He’s an icon and a great collaborator. He’s a gregarious and gracious man. He was fantastic, just fantastic.”

“This is a new character that’s not in the comic books, so I had to ask a lot of questions about him, because there wasn’t anything to base him on. I kind of had this idea of a Spidery villain that was really funny and almost grotesque. Then I showed up for a very serious performance.”

“My most challenging sequence in the movie was the fight with the Russian. He’s 6’ 10”. He’s about a foot taller than me. That was tough, but he’s a gentleman and he’s a real pro and he really made my job easier, even though it doesn’t look like it. But that was all me, and I got banged up quite a bit doing it.”

TRAVOLTA on turning 50:
“Us baby boomers are the largest group of people on the planet and we will not let it go! It’s like ‘older? Middle-aged? No!’ It’s really amazing. So welcome to my decade!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official The Punisher site
Images above © Lion's Gate Films
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #643, May 2004 cover

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