Thanks to Jon Berenthal’s show-stealing performance in last year’s season of Daredevil, the Punisher has been going through something of a renaissance.
The tragic nuances of Frank Castle’s life have never been better explored than in that show (well, maybe aside from the Punisher MAX comic book by Garth Ennis), and it’s really hard after watching that season to not be excited for Punisher’s own Netflix series later this year. In order to remind you how good you have it in this modern age of geeky wonders, and as a part of their series of ’90s comic book movies on film, Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre is showing the first Punisher movie on the big screen this Saturday night at midnight.
No, dude, not the one with Thomas Jane and John Travolta — the schlock fest from 1990 (the rest of the world got it a few months earlier in fall ’89) featuring none other than Dolph Fuckin’ Lundgren. That’s right, folks.
The Punisher belongs to the same bizarre set of early ’90s Marvel movies that only the super-dorks know about, like the Captain America movie that starred J. D. Salinger’s kid, or the unreleased Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie that was made simply so another one of its executive producers could hold on to the rights.
You probably can guess the plot to this one: Frank Castle, a former policeman whose family was murdered by the mob, hunts down those who deserve punishment (like the Yakuza, duh) in totally righteous fashion. Meanwhile, the cops are on his tail and somehow Castle gets help from a homeless guy who he lures out of hiding by driving an RC truck with a bottle of booze sitting in its bed. You know, extracting the homeless for info 101.
There’s not much more to it, to be honest, but what it lacks in story it makes up in complete and total hilarity. Lundgren struggles with his English still in this one, and hearing him trade lines with detective Lou Gossett Jr. (only seven years out from winning an Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman) is absolutely fucking bonkers. The fight scenes are poorly photographed, the supporting actors are painfully cheesy, and aside from the names and the vague references to his origin story, it’d be hard to separate this from any other late-’80s early-’90s action flick.
That said, it’s a total blast, and who could pass up on the opportunity to see Lundgren meditating in a sewer bare-ass naked?
You know you gotta see this. Get pumped with the trailer below.