Thursday, April 22, 2004

Double Feature

Caught the Tuesday revenge double feature, starting with The Punisher, followed up by Kill Bill, vol. 2. Both revenge pictures, but both going for a different approach, each one successful.

The Punisher

A story about revenge, loosely based on the Garth Ennis version of the Marvel character.

Tom Jayne stars as Frank Castle, former special forces soldier and FBI special undercover agent who is retiring after one last case. Set in Tampa, Florida with a backdrop of Cuban gangsters and cigarette boats, gone is the comic's Vietnam backdrop and gritty New York skyline (and no Spider-Man).

Jayne goes from one note cop and family man to one note grim vigilante on a mission, but that's o.k. since the Punisher is a one note character.

By the way, I always thought Jayne was a scary dead-ringer for Christopher Lambert, and that the movie that he was most Lambertian in was Dreamcatcher, but this film is like what if Conner McLeod had no accent and was killing criminals with guns.

Gone as well is Ennis' take that Frank is a Psychopath and keeps killing because he enjoys it, this Frank Castle loses his entire family to assassins bullets, and takes a lot of lead on himself in the process.

One of the things that I found interesting in the lead up to this film was the downplay of John Travolta's role in the film. I would have thought he would at least be mentioned in the trailers, rather than just getting a shot of him throwing down a knife.

I liked the movie, fans of the character will like the movie. Blah, blah blah.

Now the reason I felt moved to write about this movie, Harry Knowles' review of the film at AICN.

Alot of the time I agree with Harry (more often with Moriarty), but here he just veers off into la-la land never to return.

Firstly, the nit pick--Harry must have really hated the movie so much that he wasn't paying attention, or went blind, or, whatever, because Kevin Nash's 'Russian' doesn't talk in the movie, and what's the problem with him being a throwback character? He was a throwback in the comic, and at least they didn't go through with his transformation into a cyborg she-male after Frank 'kills' him (yet). I believe it was the mystical black guy that says the go with God bit.

Secondly I didn't get that Frank's look of surprise at seeing Quentin Glass kissing another man was a homophobic one, I got that it was a genuine look of surprise. He was expecting Glass to rough up or kill the guy, not kiss him, yes Glass's sexuality is used as a plot point, but I don't think it's a gay-bashing one. Frank doesn't target him because he's gay, there's no indication of that. He targets him because he was one of the people who gunned down everyone in the Castle family. What he finds out in his recon is fodder for use. I get the impression that the homo-phobic character in the movie is Howard Saint, due to Glass' incredible fear of being outed to him, and after having seen Saint kill a number of people pretty ruthlessly, not to mention going along with the order to kill women and children, that isn't such a far stretch.

Anyway, Harry is full of it and must have had some bad burrito's before viewing the film, like I did when I initially panned 'The Big Lebowski.' Go to the movies on an empty stomach, or after something that won't upset you.

Yeah. Punisher good comic film, not bad like Daredevil, not as good as Spider-man or Hellboy though.

Maybe I'll talk about Kill Bill tomorrow.

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