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The Punisher is an action film from 1989 starring Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle, directed by Mark Goldblatt from a screenplay by Boaz Yakin. It is loosely based on the Marvel Comics' character the Punisher. The film changes many details of the comic book origin and the main character does not wear the trademark "skull". The Punisher was filmed in Sydney, Australia and also featured Louis Gossett, Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, Nancy Everhard and Barry Otto.
Frank Castle is the city's most wanted, and most mysterious, vigilante, known as "The Punisher". He has killed 125 people in the last 5 years. Castle is an ex-police officer, whose family was murdered in a mob hit. Living in the sewers and waging a one-man war against organized crime, his only friend is an old alcoholic named Shake, who speaks in rhyme for reasons unexplained. Now legally declared dead, Castle strikes back from beyond the grave, killing mobsters wherever he can find them. Due to his war against them, the Mafia families have weakened, forcing one of the family leaders, Gianni Franco, to come in and take control. Franco has a plan to bring the families together as one unit. This, however, has attracted the attention of the Yakuza, Asia's most powerful crime syndicate. Led by Lady Tanaka, the Yakuza decide to take over the Mafia families and all of their interests. In order to sway the mobsters to their cause, they kidnap their children and hold them for ransom.
Shake pleads with the Punisher to save the children, who are likely to be sold into childhood slavery regardless of whether the Mafia give into the demands. While he is able to save most of the children with a .45 Thompson M1928 submachine gun, the Mafia leader's son is taken away to the Yakuza headquarters. Furthermore, the Punisher is taken into custody by the police, only to be freed by Franco's men. Franco persuades the Punisher to help him save his son, and stop the Japanese criminal underworld from taking root in America. Franco and the Punisher raid the Yakuza headquarters, fight and kill all the Yakuza, including Lady Tanaka and her daughter. Upon being reunited with his son, Franco betrays the Punisher in an effort to kill him, but the Punisher wins the duel, killing Franco. As the police arrive, Castle warns Franco's son not to follow the sins of his father, and vanishes from the scene.
- Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle / The Punisher
- Louis Gossett, Jr. as Jake Berkowitz
- Jeroen Krabbé as Gianni Franco
- Kim Miyori as Lady Tanaka
- Bryan Marshall as Dino Moretti
- Nancy Everhard as Sam Leary
- Barry Otto as Shake
- Brian Rooney as Tommy Franco
- Zoshka Mizak as Tanaka's daughter
- Larry McCormick as TV newsreader
- Kenji Yamaki as Sato
- Todd Boyce as Terrone
- Hirofumi Kanayama as Tomio
- Lani John Tupu as Laccone
- Giancarlo Negroponte as Musso