The Punished (2018)

Take a look at that title and you may think, “Well, if Marvel isn’t going to make a Punisher theatrical movie, someone should.”

Oh man, you’re the audience for this movie.

Wolfgang (Robert Amstler, doing an Arnold impression or it’s maybe just because he’s from Austria and was in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) is an international mercenary called to Redding, CA where a wealthy woman to get revenge. While there, he meets an orphan who could die at any moment from an undisclosed chronic disease. He decides to be her father figure — he still has not had enough of fighting crime — and hires Lisa (Nicole Stark) to be their tour guide.

This movie is astounding because it promises that’s going to be a Frank Castle movie, then makes you think it’s going to be a direct-to-streaming Leon the Professional and then becomes a travel infomercial for Redding with a scene where Lisa fires off all the things to do in town, like Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Shasta State Historic Park and WaterWorks Park. I’m shocked she didn’t tell them about the steaks at Jack’s Bar and Grill, the Huli Meatball Pizza at C.R. Gibbs American Grille or the Organic Chicken Jerusalem at Moonstone Bistro. Then, we follow the characters to these places in-between Wolfgang shooting people, sometimes in first-person action.

It’s incredible because you really have no idea what kind of movie this is. Good work, tourism PR team of Redding! You did it!

This was directed by Rene Perez, who keeps winning my cheap movie heart by making movies like a Death Wish movie so complete — Death Kiss — that he found a Bronson clone named Robert Bronzi in Eastern Europe.

This also ends — spoiler warning — with the bad guy getting BBQ sauce — did it come from Niu Hawaiian, Arnold’s or Fat Daddy’s? — poured all over himself and left to be dinner for a bear. Astounding.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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