'The Punisher' Lands Ray Stevenson, Lexi Alexander

by Paul William Tenny

The Punisher left a lot to be desired, and while I don't claim to be much of an expert since I'm not a comic fan, that doesn't mean that I don't know what I'm talking about. There wasn't a discernible plot so much as there was an opening that setup a single-theme revenge flick that consisted of our hero spending 90% of the film killing his way to the "boss", not unlike your typical 90's first-person-shooter video game.

Filmgoers weren't happy, and Thomas Jane, who played the films star Frank Castle, wasn't thrilled either. Jane did an admirable job with what he had, and based on his abilities and dedication, I'd have gone to see the sequel on his credibility alone. The clowns who've moved in to produce this next big failure don't have that kind of credibility to burn, so they get no free pass.

Jane dropped out because the physical training wasn't worth the effort when the first film stunk so much, given how hard he worked on it, and all signs pointed to a follow up that was going to be even worse. I really don't think it was a career move, Jane honestly was embarrassed at what a poor job they did the first time around and he had no intention of going through it all over again.

I deeply respect that, even if he isn't going to be winning an Oscar anytime this decade, sometimes when an actor puts his entire heart into something, that means more when the performance isn't stellar, compared to a really good performance where an actor or actress held back because they are lazy.

With Thomas Jane jumping ship, any possibility that the sequel would be any good sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. It would have been one thing if he bowed out because he wasn't interested, but to know how mediocre the first film was, and then to put the brakes on because the sequel was shaping up to be even worse...well, it doesn't take a genius to predict what's going to happen to this film.

I don't care if Ray Stevenson is a good actor because as Jane has already proven, a good actor can't save a crappy production. As for the director, the highlight of Lexi Alexander's career according to Variety is that he's a forming kickboxing champion. Yeah, you can start rolling your eyes right about know when the industries favorite mag picks that out of your resume as a career highlight when writing a story about you being tapped to helm a major motion picture sequel.

To make matters worse, Variety wrote that the script for the sequel passed no fewer than four scribes desks before they settled on something the studio liked. That is never a good sign.


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