'The Punisher' Critic Reviews

84%
MovieWeb:   17 reviews
29%
Rotten Tomatoes:   169 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    9
    A moronically inept and tedious piece of death-wish trash.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    40
    Its lack of subtlety is clearly a point of pride, and Mr. Hensleigh's flat-footed, hard-punching style has a blunt ferocity that makes Kill Bill look like In the Bedroom.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Mike Clark USA Today (Top Critic)
    75
    Trashy and disturbingly violent yet fairly zippy and amusingly cast.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post (Top Critic)
    The pleasure we take in [the Punisher's] inability to resist his basest instincts is like taking a bite of deliciously dark chocolate: probably bad for us, definitely bitter, but still sweet and stimulating.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Desson Thomson Washington Post (Top Critic)
    This whole movie seems to be a cry for help -- or I should say, punishment.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    25
    Thrill-less garbage that aspires to franchisehood.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Benjamin Strong Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Mismanages its greatest asset: an unusual embarrassment of camp riches.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jami Bernard New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    38
    Tom Jane is a great-looking Punisher, darkly handsome and chiseled, even if the movie goes nowhere with the character.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Bruce Westbrook Houston Chronicle (Top Critic)
    67
    An uneven yet workable mix of deft humor, slam-bang action and colorful pulp-novel punch.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Gary Dowell Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    25
    For an action movie written and directed by a guy who has written a lot of lively flicks, The Punisher is surprisingly inactive, full of long, slow stretches punctuated by perfunctory car chases, shoot-outs and-or fist fights.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Michael Booth Denver Post (Top Critic)
    75
    Hensleigh, co-writer with Michael France, makes the paint-by-numbers of organized-crime movies look fresh by tapping good actors and sleek camera work.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    50
    The Punisher is so grim and cheerless, you wonder if even its hero gets any satisfaction from his accomplishments.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Robert K. Elder Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    25
    In a case study of how to screw up a simple, powerful revenge story, director Jonathan Hensleigh punishes audiences with an unbearably sluggish action movie that requires the word 'action' to be placed in quotes.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    There's something to be said for letting a comic book adaptation operate at the level of a comic book, dispensing cheap laughs and ice-cold sadism.
    Full Review » 8 years ago
  • David Hiltbrand Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    50
    For such a formulaic vigilante film, The Punisher has a far better cast than it deserves.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    13
    In this by-the-numbers payback melodrama, even the explosions seem half-hearted.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    17
    A flatline affair from beginning to end, The Punisher is painfully dull, offering no characters, actions, scenes or special effects of note.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Bill Muller Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    40
    A ridiculously violent revenge story with no redeeming value.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    There isn't a moment in The Punisher that isn't borrowed or stolen from another movie.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Joe Leydon Variety (Top Critic)
    Pic plays like a paint-by-numbers pilot for bygone basic-cable teleseries.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jonathan Foreman New York Post (Top Critic)
    50
    Travolta is terrific as a bad guy, making Saint almost sympathetic. His co-stars however, flounder in a sea of bad lines, with poor Romijn-Stamos getting stuck with the worst.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jay Boyar Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    60
    It may be pulp, but at least it's good solid pulp.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    40
    The graphic nature of the violence that makes The Punisher hard to recommend without serious caveats.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Stephen Cole Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    38
    An overemphatic revenge fantasy devoid of even a trace of excitement or wit.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Stephanie Zacharek Salon.com (Top Critic)
    Gets us lost early in the first half-hour and never succeeds in completely luring us in.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
AVG. RATING 3.7 GREAT
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