Thursday, March 15, 2018

the punisher [2017 --]

every once in a while i give myself a project and come hell or high water i will finish it.  my latest project was to finish watching this netflix series based on the marvel comic.  jon bernthal plays frank castle, a marine who got into some serious black ops, witnessed some fucked up war crimes, and for his pain his family was murdered by government assassins.  frank is an elite soldier.  revenge is his game.  shit is going down.

now frank has an antagonist in the form of former nsa analyst, david, who goes by the alias micro, played by ebon moss-bachrach, who blew the whistle on the aforesaid war crimes frank also witnessed.  and for his pains the government attempted to kill david.  the assassination attempt was unsuccessful but it looked realistic enough to allow david to go deep underground.  while david's family think he is dead, the former nsa analyst is a brilliant hacker who sets up camp and goes to work to bring the truth to light.

meanwhile homeland security agent dinah madani, played by amber rose revah, is bent on uncovering the truth about these war crimes too.  and so it goes for this series takes its time setting character and motivation.  it was a hard slog to get thru.  all three actors are quite talented and game.  the writing and direction needs some attention.  each set piece is so choreographed the viewer can accurately predict where the next punch will fall.

still, i like jon bernthal.  he does intense the way the great character actor james russo does intensity.  every eye twitch or balled fist is an encyclopedia of violent, brooding intent.  bernthal has a tough guy face, but he has the soul of a poet.  he is the thinking person's action man.  he is both arthur miller and joe dimaggio rolled into one actor.  bernthal is the reason i watched the whole predictable season.

does the punisher live up to his name?  does a bear shit in the woods?  don't mean to be so obvious to rehash a cliche but we've heard this song before, read this book, seen this movie.  revenge is not only a dish best served cold, but revenge is also a series of hyper violent set pieces.  when these set pieces work the effect is breathtaking.  frank castle is a superman with a few broken ribs, a fat lip and a will to kill.  if you don't like violent action steer clear of this series.  but if you like your violence delivered to you by a poetic soul than perhaps you might make your own slog thru this series and find that jon bernthal might be one of our best physical actors working today. 


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