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Thomas Jane on Why "The Punisher" Films Failed

Posted: October 7th, 2009 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Thomas Jane on Why "The Punisher" Films FailedSubmit Comment
While promoting his "Dark Country" film, actor Thomas Jane spoke about the problem with "The Punisher" movies and what he would like to see happen in a potential third installment.

"My interest has always been based more in reality than in superhero fiction, and with the original 'Punisher' I very much pushed them to try to make a movie that was more like 'Death Wish' or 'Taxi Driver' than 'Spider-Man,'" Jane told MTV News, adding that the movie failed because the filmmakers were trying to make a comic-book movie.

He also explained why he decided to drop out of "Punisher 2: War Zone." "'Punisher 2' went more in the direction of goofball comic-book world than in reality," he said. "The portraits of Punisher that Tim Bradstreet did, that's the movie I want to see. [Those portraits] have a reality, grit and truth to them, and I think every 'Punisher' fan out there agrees with me. That's what I was pushing for and that's why I dropped out of 'Punisher 2' ó because I'm not going to make a 'comic book movie.' Itís just doing a disservice to Frank Castle."

Jane added that since "The Dark Knight" was successful, it only confirms his opinion that "The Punisher" should have been darker and grittier. "Everyone gets it backwards," he said. "The 'Punisher' comic is striving for a sense of reality. They're not striving for a sense of comic book."

Source: MTV News

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Displaying 53 comment(s) Profanity: Turn On
dandythelion writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 8:50:14 PM

Thomas Jane made a GREAT Punisher. I Nominate Michael Mann or a more experienced director for a reboot, so long they use jane again.
Ari Gold writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 8:56:03 PM

Agreed man, Jane was heaps good!
JonDrama writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:06:49 PM

Jane was great,
stevenson was sh*t..
Michael Mann, David Fincher, Bryan Singer..
even Rob Zombie would make an interesting Punisher flick...
Just bring back Tom Jane!
rabid writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:12:16 PM

Thomas Jane did make a good Frank Castle. The thing that ruined that film was changing the backdrop from NYC to Miami.
I enjoyed both Punisher films. War Zone satisfied me more with its outrageous gore and a real villain.
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:15:27 PM

Punished 1 did have a lot of room to make it darker and make the audience more afraid of thomas jane but yet chose to make it look like inspector gadget
rabid writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:15:41 PM

If they do a sequel to the Jane movie, they should bring the Russian back. In the comics, he's reanimated but the hormones they give him for the process make him grow huge breasts. And he starts listening to Britney Spears.
acslaterson writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:19:09 PM

I was a fan of Jane's portrayal, it was the story an tropic back drop that killed it for me. I totally agree with the NYC comment. He should be going up against the mob. Pretty cool that he wanted to go the more MAX route with realism. God, that second movie was horrid. I am all about over the top violence(Kill Bill Volume 1), but that movie was total visual diarhea.
wonderBOY writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:20:39 PM

Im Tom Jane -
wonderBOY writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:21:22 PM

Im Tom Jane -
Tom Jane in Arrested Development
acslaterson writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:28:04 PM

^^^Hahaha, when he was researching his homeless role! I had completely forgot about that!
BlahblahIV writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:52:52 PM

Totally agree with him. I've always liked the character of the Punisher, but it wasn't until Garth Ennis did his MAX run on him that I actually started reading The Punisher. I just find the stories so much more interesting/compelling when its based in reality. I've borrowed a couple of my friends other Punisher titles, the ones where he frequently bumps shoulders with super-powered people, be they heroes or villains, and Frank just seems so out of place, and lame.

Anyone who has read the MAX stories knows there is definitely TONS of solid material for them to make a good punisher flick. I definitely think Jane tried real hard, and succeeded (to a degree) to be the Punisher that Ennis wrote, but I didn't hate Stevenson in the role. I'd definitely like to see him try again, with people who actually have a vision/direction for The Punisher.

I'm still hoping Marvel/Disney re-evaluates their Punisher licensing, and takes it more seriously. I don't care what anyone says lol, I'd love to see HBO do a mini-series, or a full-on season based on the MAX Punisher.
c-prime writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 9:56:55 PM

I'm actually one of the five guys on this planet that liked "The Punisher" with Thomas Jane (dandy, Ari, Jon, and acslaterson - you must be the other four). I'm just fine with him returning for another one, but they've been so unsuccessful, I'm doubtful it'll ever happen.
BlahblahIV writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:06:32 PM

Make it six!!! I thought the Jane film was solid. And I totally agree with you, I think it's going to be a LONG time before they give ol' Frank Castle another crack at the big-screen.

I mean, while the first one has a cult following, critics were...hostile. The DVD sold enough for LGF to go "let's try it again, this time pretend the first one didn't happen!", and then that ALSO bombs, with even less fan approval.

I think that unless marvel see a script or screenplay, or even just a treatment, that totally blows their minds The Punisher is going to stay dead.

I say bring Ennis on to write, and that'll probably produce something Jane would take a liking to, and go from there.
rabid writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:07:03 PM

A Punisher tv series could be really good if they got Garth Ennis to write it.
ian_918 writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:16:04 PM

Yeah that is so damn true Jane! I would love to see him in another and it be more darker and realistic cause thats something i think everyone wants to see out of the punisher.
BlahblahIV writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:17:36 PM

Couldn't agree more Rabid. Especially if Ennis is writing it. Dunno how much of the MAX stories you've read, but I'd really like to see the whole arc of stories with O'Brien and 'Yorkie' play out, but thats like 4 whole Vol's, which is much too big for a film.

Out of Ennis' 10 Volume run on the Punisher, there were only 2 stories I wasn't a fan of. I'm also liking the non-Ennis stuff too. Definitely not as strong, but great stuff.
masKritic writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:30:21 PM

I hated the violence in the second movie it was sooo corny and fake.
DoucheNozzle writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:32:00 PM

C-Prime, count me as a pround owner of Tom Jane's The Punisher. As always, he was an epic badass in it (and showed he is a damn good actor during the boat dock scene). I love the surreal, almost bizarro-spaghetti western feel to it, the b movie look and aura, as well as an appropriately over the f*ckin' top Travolta performance! Favorite scene is by far the diner confrontation between Jane and the mariachi/hitman. Love that little tune he plays. "I'll play it at your funeral." Bad...ass... Plus, Ben Foster getting his piercings ripped out. Good times.
BlahblahIV writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:34:17 PM

lol I've been trying to find a good MP3 of that song for a while. Kinda gave up.
BlahblahIV writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:48:03 PM

That's totally just research for when he reprises his role in the Arrested Development movie lol
TH3D4RKKN1GH7 writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 10:49:57 PM

Yeah I loved the first Punisher, I've always like Thomas Jane as an actor. He totally has this right as well. Stevenson looked like the Punisher but that film was full of fail. Love some of the gorey bits though.
Bob82 writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 11:23:23 PM

The first one was crap and the second one was really fun. In this case, I prefer silly fun than boring reality.
The Skippy Spartan writes:
on October 7th, 2009 at 11:34:17 PM

I actually bought the Punsiher film with Tom Jane, i loved it, it was gritty, and i understand what Jane is on about.

Seriously reboot the film, get Jane a second chance to play the role, get a director who understands what the books i about and won't compromise.....ie David Fincher, he is the man who can tell FOX to f*ck off and leave the film alone! and he gets remarkable results!
BigUnit writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 12:09:56 AM

I actually really liked the first punisher movie, All-Star cast, and i loved Thomas Jane as the punisher. Too bad i think it kind of ruined his career in a way... The HBO series hung is pretty funny tho
Ranger writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 12:10:34 AM

Add me to the list... I liked (the first) Punisher. I just had to check my movie list and yes, I do have it on DVD.

The 2nd. one... never saw it.

If the backdrop was to have been NYC... then yes, moving it to sunny Florida was pretty stupid.

I still don't know why they bothered getting Travolta to play the bad guy. A roughed-up unknown would have been 100x's better.

And want to make The Punisher go from good to great?! Keep Jane (obviously... the fight scene with the Russian in the first gives him that right automatically), but make it R-Rated!
c-prime writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 12:53:43 AM

Damn, "Punisher" fans are coming out of the woodwork! Ha ha. And here I thought I was one of the only people who liked the movie. People give that flick a hard time. I honestly cannot see any gaping flaws about it. It ain't perfect, but it was immensely entertaining. I believe they told the story very effectively.

Yeah, Douche, I often think back to the scene with the guitar-playing hitman. My favorite line is "You are one dumb son of a bitch, bringing a knife into a gunfight." That one's a real side-splitter.
c-prime writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 12:55:04 AM

Also, Thomas Jane's "Punisher" was R-rated, Ranger.
dtstine writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 12:56:44 AM

Dolph Lundren's Punisher movie anyone? ... No? ... Anyone?
PencilNinja writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 1:28:48 AM

Jane's Punisher was great, and didn't have NYC backdrop because it wasn't in the budget I believe. But, all three movies are still a far cry from the gritty reality of the Max series by Ennis. War Zone had some cool moments but the idiotic goofball crap of especially the main villain complete ruined it for me. And like some others has pointed out, the gore was more like Planet Terror or something... Guess it's just another proof that the execs doesn't read the comics. Haven't read the new issues of Max with the new writer, any good?
Ranger writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 1:48:00 AM

@c-prime - oh, ok... it's been a while since I watched it last. re: the R-Rating... if so... they should have exploited it MUCH further than they did. How was it different than a PG these days? Also, I go back to: sunny Florida was a mistake (but budget would explain that), and there was NO NEED for Travolta. Even as a name to draw ticket sales. They could EASILY have gotten a tougher mobster in to play that role. It's generous of Jane to explain why these movies failed. But I think they also failed him. Too bad. He seems into them.
rabid writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 1:59:21 AM

War Zone was full of plot holes. We never even found out what the glowing biological weapon was, and in the end, Jigsaw wasn't any sort of match for Frank.
What they should've done was have the weapon be mutant growth hormones, which Jigsaw and LBJ take to hulk out. Then it could've at least ended with a dramatic battle scene.
c-prime writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 2:08:44 AM

I've got no complaints about Travolta's casting, Ranger. I love it when he play's a bad guy - to me, he's generally at his best when he plays those parts. Sure, he wasn't a very fearsome kingpin in the film, but I'm just satisfied to see that giddiness, that glint of enjoyment he displays in his eyes whenever he tackles a villainous role.
Ranger writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 2:21:46 AM

Like Broken Arrow you're referring to.
Ranger writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 2:22:34 AM

I'm a HUGE JT fan. But I didn't seem add anything to The Punisher like he did (clearly) in Broken Arrow, Face Off or Swordfish.
dissident187 writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 2:26:52 AM

I honestly prefer War Zone to Jane's Punisher. Punisher 2004 had that 70's revenge flick feel as opposed to the comic book film feel to it, which IMO, didnt work very well. The same problem with Ghost Rider. Apart from the shoddy script and the schlocky performances, the supernatural western feel of the film didnt quite work. A Punisher film was meant to be a little over-the-top with Rambo quality violence. War Zone was great in action and acting (on part of Stevenson, Mihok and Salmon) but failed completely dialogue and story wise. But it still was fun.

The Formula:

Eastern Promises + Rambo 4 = Critically and commercially successful Punisher film
BigUnit writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 3:14:42 AM

Travolta in "Swordfish" that was another one where he played a good bad guy
BigUnit writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 3:16:12 AM

my b Ranger didnt read your last swoarfish comment, but i jsut felt the need to throw that one out there lol
vwkombi writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 3:32:51 AM

Give Jane a machine gun and let his loose in NYC.

The first movie was great, but that Warzone sh*t was boring as hell.
wonderBOY writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 7:59:38 AM

even better tom jane arrested development quote
I just want my family back - Tom Jane
eViL.kEv2 writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 8:41:23 AM

"I just want my kids back."
Kurskij writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 10:00:19 AM

The first Punisher was a good revenge thriller with a nice neo-noir feeling and Tom Jane was great. The music was awesome too. The second one was just... well, a b-movie crap. Fun at times but mostly crap.
Johnny Neat writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 11:58:36 AM

Too bad too sad. Both movies were horrible. Although I agree with Jane on where the movies should be directed, I don't agree on him having been cast. Ray Stevenson was a much much better casting but that movie was horrible too. How come Man on Fire has the vibe right? Jesus this character is so easy to do it's annoying to watch people fail.
Peter Parker writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 11:59:08 AM

What they could have done to have a good Punisher movie? Easy. Zack Snyder should have done it!
on October 8th, 2009 at 12:01:39 PM

The first movie played almost like a parody of "Death Wish" the second one was lighted by twenty-something titty bar owners and even though I kinda enjoyed the cartoonish-ness of it, it still wasn't a "Punisher" movie. The Punisher needs to be tortured and indifferent at the same time. He's a very pyschologically damaged person who's a man of action and gives no thought to himself or really anyone else. Neither movie did that...And as for the Lundgren movie?? THAT MOVIE MADE ME WISH FOR THE DEATH OF THE PLANET!! HOLY f*ckIN' sh*tBALLS.
warlord writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 12:05:00 PM

i dont think it failed its just it doesnt translate from comic to film like batman or spiderman but i think tj nail'd it
RickyGabrielBird writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 4:36:16 PM


Lets all remember the first ever Punisher film and be thankful for the ones we have now.
ArtMan17 writes:
on October 8th, 2009 at 8:15:48 PM

Thomas Jane was a horrible Punisher. I hate when Hollywood puts a dye job on an actor to fit the part. Frank Castle was Italian. Stevenson played Punisher way better too bad he was in a s*** movie with s*** talent around him. Jane was right his movie sucked too, but don't tell me he was Castle. These movies should be dark and violent and not hokey!
mattcl23 writes:
on October 9th, 2009 at 12:47:41 AM

Bring Dolph Lundgren back. He can still kick some serious ass!
defmike writes:
on October 9th, 2009 at 5:01:29 AM

I feel this whole series should end or just stop for awhile and wait to restart. I just watched the original with Dolph Lundgren the other day, wow what a waste of time. Yeah it sorta tied in with the comics, and i mean "sorta". Then came the Tom Jane and Ray Stevenson flicks. Alright Tom Jane wasn't bad, he just didn't fit the look i felt. To me Punisher has always been a LARGE guy. Dolph and Ray both roughly in the 6'4" to 6'5" range fit it. Tom not so much.

Now story wise, the Tom Jane one was decent, it's a origin story. War zone, it basically did what the Incredible Hulk did, you know the story no use in explaining it again. Also the Dolph movie did the same, no point in getting into it. Which was cool, i didnt need to go through it again. But Stevenson's was Rambo 4 and Lundgren's was well a product of the 80's and 90's action films era.

Now why i felt it failed. In one film you have bad writing, another over the top violence, the other too much comic book realism. Admit it, like Tom Jane said they made it too much like Spider-man. What i feel the movie should be, capture the realism, capture the violence, most of all better writing. Now that's asking a lot from Hollywood. But it can be done, will it ever be done? Maybe since Batman sorta flipped everything. Will it for Punisher? Most likely no, Punisher is a great character, he just isn't that large to bank on.

If it were me The Punisher would be like a Scorsese mob film. Deep, mafia filled, violent as all hell, and most of all good. Thats just what i feel, take it or leave it.
Peter Parker writes:
on October 9th, 2009 at 12:22:43 PM

A "Godfather" type of Punisher movie wouldn't be a bad idea. To me, it would be perfect if they did it the way they did Sin City. The violence, the photography, the dark environment... It has Punisher written all over it!
Ranger writes:
on October 9th, 2009 at 2:38:06 PM

@PP - that's a great idea! But they should involve Zac Efron at some point before he's entirely consumed by AIDS.
Peter Parker writes:
on October 9th, 2009 at 3:11:42 PM

OMFG, Ranger!!! Zac Efron has AIDS? I knew it!! Even makeup can't cover those bruises on his body anymore!!!
He's one big walkin' takin' piece of AIDS!!!
Mighte Migit writes:
on October 9th, 2009 at 4:54:49 PM

the 2nd one looks dumb

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