In the Dark

Make Mine Revenge, Please

The Punisher
Produced by Marvel Enterprises
Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh
Screenplay by Michael France and Jonathan Hensleigh
Distributed by Lions Gate Films Inc.

Man on Fire
Produced by Fox 2000 Pictures and Scott Free Productions
Directed by Tony Scott
Screenplay by Brian Helgeland from A.J. Quinnell’s novel
Distributed by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Mean Girls
Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Mark S. Waters
Screenplay by Tina Fey

Audiences love to watch the wronged get their own back, preferably in spades.  So it is no surprise that revenge has taken over the screen once more.  As I write, The Punisher, Man on Fire, and, in a gentler register, Mean Girls are all profitably if not wholesomely working the vindictive theme.

Even by the grisly standards of the genre, Jonathan Hensleigh’s adaptation of Marvel Comics’ The Punisher is inordinately brutal.  It features a box-jawed, muscle-bound actor named Tom Jane playing Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher.  The character is supposed to be grimly obsessed with avenging the murders of his loved ones, but Jane makes him look less vindictively morose than awkwardly comatose.  Maybe it is the Wild Turkey he drinks...

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