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Movie Punisher

Marvel Legends
by Shocka

Though Marvel Legends already gave us a comicbook version of the Punisher, this Frank castle is the one from the recent movie. Whether you liked it or not is not the focus of the review (though it was a great movie, except for the dragging-behind-the-car-fire-logo garbage), because this is the best Punisher figure to date.

On his final assignment, FBI special agent Frank Castle plays his undercover part perfectly, but the operation spins out of control and a young man is inadvertently killed. This places Castle on the wrong side of Tampa Businessman Howard Saint. Behind Saint's copious wealth are violent beginnings, underworld ties and a chilling capacity for brutality. As the Punisher, Castle has no superpowers to battle the evil he sees... only his fierce intelligence, his years of combat experience and, above all, his iron determination to avenge those wronged by society's villians.

Standing just 6⅛" tall, Frank dons the Punisher gear in style; with an oversized "leather" trenchcoat over his black skull-emblazoned shirt and pants. The look of the main figure is very nice, with simple effective detailing; the look of the coat brings it up that extra notch.

The leather effect is achieved using a shimmering plastic which makes the coat material almost thin enough to be authentic - one of the problems with real action figure clothes is that they're always oversized and not real-looking. Movie Punisher almost avoids this - only the oversized collar gives it away. The coat is also detailed with knives, clips and grenades, arming up Frank nicely.

[The coat is reused from ML5's movie Blade, with all the additional weaponry glued on --ed.]

Frank's coat is removable to show off his excellent arms, which make all the Barbies coo. Underneath the coat, he has 37 points of articulation, which make him plenty posable with or without the trenchcoat. Both of Frank's hands have finger articulation, although only his right hand has the trigger finger articulated seperately from the others, which is annoying - there should be symmetry so he can weild two guns at once.

Facial sculpt isn't bad - although not as good as the prototypes, the figure resembles Thomas Jane enough to be recognisable. The paint apps are, on the whole, quite good, with one minor irritation - Frank's stubble. It started with Daredevil and Gambit and it should end here - I don't understand the need for ToyBiz to "paint" stubble onto the faces of action figures; it doesn't look right at all no matter how well its done. Ticks me off, but ah well.

Fully armed, Frank comes with a minor arsenal: he's got a pistol, a machine gun, a bazooka and a heavy machine gun. Frank can weild all of these in style, but it's worth having a bitch about each of these accessories. To start with, the pistol isn't the modified type from the movie, and there's only one, so you can't pull off any of the cool dual-modded-pistol poses (although borrowing Deadpool's pistol to try this isn't out of the question).

More notable is the fact that the two machine guns are stupidly sculpted from soft plastic instead of harder, firmer plastic like the pistol and the bazooka - because they're not stiff, they bend and don't look nearly as cool. Take note, toy producers: all weapons like this, including swords, should be sculpted from hard plastic so they don't bend, otherwise they look ridiculous.

Frank also includes a cheap base displaying the Punisher skull logo. A nice little extra, it's nowhere near the detailed base that the original came with, but it's nice enough.

Overall, I really like the Movie Punisher figure, although it's probably the least impressive in this awesome line. Fans of the movie will want this, and I think it offers much for others as well - if not as the actual Punisher character, it's an easy custom to make into a cool vigilante or other character of your choice. Props to ToyBiz for another nice job.

-- 07/25/04

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