“Mr. P! Happy Hunting!”
In 1989, the superhero film was again in style – after the Superman films of the late-seventies, Marvel characters started throwing their hats in the ring. The Punisher was one of those films, released straight-to-video by New World Pictures just 2 months ahead of Tim Burton’s Batman – probably in hopes of capturing a little pre-Batman superhero buzz.
Directed by Mark Goldblatt – who had previously helmed the fantastically fun zombie cop flick Dead Heat in ’88 – The Punisher starred Dolph Lundgren as the titular superhero (sans his famous skull shirt, though). In comparison to other superhero flicks of the time, Goldblatt’s Punisher bore more resemblance to New World’s other action flicks – with an R rating and some fairly heavy violence – over 90 people are killed on screen in the film!
To drive this point home, the trailer mostly has the Punisher unloading clip after clip of his gun into everything in sight – including one seemingly peaceful karate class! He does it all without speaking a word – maybe to keep a cool, calm and brooding distance to the character, or maybe just because Lundgren can be a pretty terrible actor, and they wanted him to keep his mouth shut most of the time.
This trailer is pretty awesome though, as it’s basically an advertisement for how many gun fights and explosions are in the movie. That makes me want to watch it, anyway.