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    SHOULD A 12 YEAR-OLD SEE "THE PUNISHER"?

    No. The answer is no. But my buddy and I saw it at 12.

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    Marvel Studios / Via screencrush.com

    You've seen Jon Bernthal's badass Punisher in season 2 of MARVEL'S DAREDEVIL on Netflix, right?

    I'm not talking about that (though I wouldn't let my 12 year-old watch that either).

    I'm talking Dolph Lundgren's PUNISHER from 1989. Here's the trailer:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com / Via youtube.com

    My father let me watch R-rated films all the time. My mother and stepfather, not so much.

    Dad watched many of them with me including TERMINATOR, LETHAL WEAPON (1-3), and PREDATOR. He didn't watch PUNISHER with me- that was reserved for my best friend and his father.

    My buddy's dad took us to the video store for a double feature. He'd pick a movie, and my pal and I would pick a movie. He picked THRONE OF FIRE (not to be mistaken with THRONE OF BLOOD, Kurosawa's version of Macbeth, oh no). We picked THE PUNISHER.

    He chastised us for our pick, claiming it was ultra-violent (it was). We countered with the fact that THRONE OF FIRE was an R-rated 80s sword and sorcery movie featuring the two Bs: Boobs and Beheadings. His argument was that the violence wasn't as realistic as PUNISHER, so it was better. I kind of get what he was saying. But we were 12.

    Here's the short trailer for THRONE OF FIRE. It was less epic than Lou Ferrigno's HERCULES, I can tell you.

    View this video on YouTube

    Via youtube.com

    I recently rewatched Lundgren's PUNISHER. Here's my assessment:

    Punisher meditates naked in the sewer. WTF?

    Marvel Studios / Via badmovies.org

    Yep. After whuppin' bad guys without his signature skull shirt, Punny sits naked in front of candles in his sewer lair.

    Lundgren's painted-on beard is amazing.

    New World International / Via wordpress.com

    There are no words...

    This movie kicks ass in a late 80s/early 90s way.

    Marvel Comics/New World International / Via cineplex.media.baselineresearch.com

    So he doesn't have the skull. That sucks. But this movie kicks ass. In one sequence:

    Punny shoots a crossbow bolt into a guy attached to a rope.

    He zip lines down, machine guns ninjas, pulls a shotgun out of thin air, grabs a ninja chain, blasts a ninja, chases a van pumping lead into it, randomly bags a wiseguy, runs down the van, stabs the driver through the window with his trademarked skull knife, rolls off the moving vehicle which plunges into the water, mid-roll pulls out a handgun and nails an uzi-wielding ninja, takes a thrown knife in the shoulder, falls into the ocean, and emerges in the sewer hurt but aware enough to heat a giant knife over glowing coals so he can cauterize the wound in his shoulder.

    How badass is this movie? Your butt can't handle it.

    New World International / Via strangekidsclub.com

    - His sidekick/informant is an effing Shakespearean actor/bum who speaks in rhyming couplets.

    -A Mafia family nanny is blasted by the Yakuza through a talking panda in front of the kids.

    -Punny has a BOSS motorcycle.

    -As is typical in late 80s/early 90s action, it's dark as hell, but buoyed by humor. The Punisher steals a bus and there's a random guy on it. Punny misses his stop, but gives him a transfer slip.

    -While the bad guys pursue said bus, a stuntman on a van gets rammed through the window and goes over six rows of seats. Now that is a stunt.

    How badass is the weirdo nightclub scene?

    View this video on YouTube

    New World International / Via youtube.com

    Bizarro underground casino/sex club? Time for punishment. When Punny busts through the skylight a la Batman, it's fucking epic.

    Oh hey, Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr.

    New World International / Via cineplex.media.baselineresearch.com

    He's so damn good. AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, ENEMY MINE... it doesn't matter. He's just solid.

    In this scene Frank gives Punny's famous "if you're guilty, you're dead" speech, and what does Louis do?

    SLAP THE SHIT OUT OF HIM, then leave his ass to rot. After spending the whole movie trying to find him and help him. That's ballsy.

    He also kicks the hell out of two mafia wiseguys while handcuffed, eats their pizza, and walks out nonchalant. BADASS.

    New World International / Via noffload.net

    After the mafia boss' son is kidnapped by the Yakuza, he turns to Punisher to help him. Punisher warns him that when it's over, the mafia boss is dead.

    Cut to the mafia boss' son, Tommy, all of twelve. He watches his Dad almost kill himself to save him, then he himself nearly dies when Punny bulls eyes Yakuza lady in the forehead, then he watches Punny kill his dad.

    THEN, he's scared shitless when Punny tells him "you're a good boy, Tommy. Grow up to be a good man. Because if not, I'll be waiting."

    Close on dirty naked Punisher in the sewer.

    HAPPY ENDING for this FAMILY FILM.

    Am I glad I saw it? Of course. Had I seen worse at that point? Absolutely. Would I let my kids see it?

    No freaking way.

    Marvel actually published a comic book adaptation featuring Dolph in the signature skull. Here's the cover:

    Marvel Comics / Via dolph-ultimate.com

    But the best Dolph Lundgren of all time? Right freakin' here.

    View this video on YouTube

    Melodifestivalen, Sweeden / Via youtube.com
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