The Punisher (1989)

While done on a much smaller budget than the 2004 and the 2008 movie incarnation, this version of the Punisher is the one I like the most of all three. Mind you, it’s not perfect, there’s an annoying sidekick and the Japanese in the movie are horribly cliched, embodying the fear of the East that was all to prevalent at that time, but the rest is a good 80ies actionfest.

Due the tight budget the movie looks cheap in places, but that only adds to the down and dirty style. But the best thing about the movie is Dolph Lundgren. While far from being a good character actor, he possesses exact the qualities to make the Punisher convincing: he looks the part and he plays him tone-perfect, cold and unforgiving when needed with a bit humanity when that is called for. But most of all, you don’t get the feeling that you get when seeing main characters in more recent action movies, who look hard on the outside but are all pussy inside.