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The Punisher

Lots of revenge

It seems foolish for Marvel Comics to have timed the release of <I>The Punisher</I> so it coincides with the opening of the second volume of Quentin Tarantino's <I>Kill Bill</I> when their premises are so similar. And like Tarantino's picture, there is no shortage of carnage in <I>The Punisher</I>. But, that is where the similarities end.

Each confrontation in <I>Kill Bill</I> is highlighted by the acrobatic sword fighting between dueling samurai- the violence just being a consequence- while <I>The Punisher</I> is just a seemingly endless string of desensitizing murders. The campy dialogue and musical wizardry that makes Tarantino's picture a masterpiece is replaced by long periods of silence and brooding in an empty apartment in this latest failed comic book adaptation.

In fact, the mystical quality of the comic genre is completely lost here. Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher, with his extensive military background and lack of superpowers seems more like a transplant from a Tom Clancy novel than a Marvel Comics superhero. Since Castle is given no other reason for existence other than vengeance, and his primary means of slaying are guns and knives, his killings start to look remarkably similar. Without a buildup from one generic bad guy to the next, the violence grows tedious, as does the film itself.

Star: 1 out 5