They were smart.
Good Lord, this movie sucked! Thomas Jane made a much better Frank Castle. Wasn't impressed at all with the new guy they cast. The plot was slow at best, and boring at worst. It just wasn't evenly paced...just when you thought you'd get to a kickass action scene, it's be a quick kill and then back to some slow scene at the police precinct. You'd just start to get excited only to be let down, and it'd take another ten minutes to build back to something interesting.
The fights themselves were laughable. One guy gets punched in the face, and his broken nose burst forth with fifty-five gallons of syrupy blood shot out at 2800 psi. Another guy got shot in the head to have his entire skull de-atomized. Blood or brain chunks are okay, good and even expected in a Punisher flick. But when one bullet blows your head away to the point that the pieces look like you just got vaporized, something's wrong. With such massively unrealistic amounts of blood, it just gets silly and you just can't take it seriously anymore. (Thank God that Frank never got a paper cut...)
One notable exception comes when a dude gets hit by a rocket launcher at one point and just goes POOF. Big, fluffy white cloud. Not a drop of blood or gore anywhere. No chunks. No limbs. Just....poof. I think in the director's cut, you'll probably even see the word "poof" spelled out across the screen.
And the worst part is the humor! There were a few pieces of grim humor that were appreciated, but with all the minor characters cracking wise and hoping for a few cheap laughs, I think there was about four lame puns for each actual fatality in the film. Now that I think about it, maybe that's what the movie's supposed to be about? It's not "The Punisher", it's "The Pun Issuer". We've just been saying it wrong!
Ugh. It wasn't Hulk bad, but it was about on par with Ghost Rider if you want a reference of the general baditude. Catch it on TV, maybe, if you're interested in a brainless action flick and even then it's something to half-watch while you're grinding levels on some computer game or something.