Movie Plot – The Punisher (1989): Frank Castle’s family is murdered. From there on out, he fights crime as the Punisher.

Director: Mark Goldblatt
Writer: Boaz Yakin
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Bryan Marshall

The first Punisher Movie

When people ask me if I’ve seen the first Punisher movie, the first film to pop in my mind is the one of 2004. I tend to forget that there was another Punisher movie in 1989. That’s mostly because I’ve seen the 2004 version more than the older one.

This film is darker than the 2004 version. I wouldn’t tell you to watch this movie for the plot. Instead, watch it for the action, because it’s heavily focused on the Punisher fighting crime.

Dolph Lundgren’s Frank Castle

First off, Dolph Lundgren’s looks like the Punisher. He’s stiff and menacing, which makes him perfect for the role. On top of that, he’s a big dude, although I found him to be a bit smaller compared to other films he played in.

He definitely nails the “loner” mark as he avoids social contact with anyone. Sure, some talk against him, but he’s not looking for friendship. Unfortunately, that also made his character flat and uninteresting. Sometimes they did show scenes from the past, but that didn’t do it for me. I needed more to feel for the guy. It’s kind of harsh when I hear myself talking about it as his family got murdered.

The filmmakers should have included more scenes about his backstory. That would made us more understanding of his character. Also, would made us more invested in him.

His outfit looks incredible, even if there isn’t a skull on it. Some people complain about it, but I thought that was okay. On a positive note, he may not have the skull, but his character is a close representation of the comic book character.

The Punisher 1989 vs. the Yakuza

The Punisher vs. the Yakuza

The film starts off with him fighting the mob. Shortly after, the Yakuza gets involved, and they want to take over the mob, which resulted in a gang war. At first, this worked in Punisher’s favor as both parties would kill each other. However, the Yakuza kidnaps the mob bosses’ children, and that’s where Frank Castle steps in.

There is a lot of violence in this film. And, this Punisher loves to use knives so much he throws them to his opponents. Like a lot. A bit too much if you ask me.

I lost count on how many weapons there were in special places like their shoes. Some methods were overused. I prefer it rawer with a lot of gun power. And, no, I’m not a violent guy at all.


It’s a fun little action movie, but also forgettable. It lacks backstory and has a flat plot. I believe this could have been more thou with some additional scenes.

Thank god, Marvel gave us more Punisher’s adaptations.