Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review - Punisher War Zone (2008)

“If I see you anywhere near Hell, I'll kick your ass out.”

Director: Lexi Alexander
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchinson
Writers: Nick Santora, Art Marcum

A while back in the past I made mention of the three Punisher films and trying to keep the plot of movies simple. Having not seen this particular one at the time, I made a note that introducing one of Franks comic villains may not have been the best thing, if they haven’t made a good Punisher movie so far. Today having watched the movie I can say my comments were warranted.

Normally when I do a review I try and weigh up both negative and positive points, and try and find said points no matter how I overall feel about the movie. With this one it’s very hard to find positive points because at the end of the day this movie is ridiculously stupid. I thought the action was okay then something would happen that would just blow any credibility.

Let’s start with the acting and Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Well he looked the part, yet all he had to do was look mean. However throughout the movie I was just never on his side. Not that I was barracking for the villains it was that I just didn’t care. Honestly to me it was as if this was a Shade of Frank Castle and had non of the complexities of the character. The being said the acting was better than the two main villains. Doug Hutchinson as Looney Bin Jim is a lesson in over acting. At first I was interested in the character but was quickly bored. When you always play it at eleven people will tire. Finally there was Dominic West as Jigsaw. Before the transformation into a villain he wasn’t too bad but then when he became Jigsaw it was a one way ticket to ham city. Also dear reader I bet you didn’t know this but having your face torn off grants you super strength.

Story wise I think they really missed the trick. This was supposed to be a reboot from the Thomas Jane movie so I think they truly should have started from scratch. Have Frank hunting down the mafia that killed his family. That’s it end of story. I don’t know why both the Jane and Stevenson movies have to have someone coming after Frank. It’s ass backwards. Sure have them mount a defence but why can’t they just tell this ready made simple story? Having Jigsaw in the picture really does confuse the issue and I didn’t care for his story. Dropping Micro into the plot (character from the comics) also just muddied the water. It’s simple. First movie should be all the set up (and we are talking set up as it’s obvious the people behind this want a franchise), have him kill the mafia families responsible, let the audience get to know the character of Frank Castle, then in the second movie introduce the new elements.

Visually I will say it didn’t look to bad, the use of the neon lights and the dark city did create a world that was grimy. It would be a place that Frank existed in. Even some of the action set pieces were pretty good and weren’t edited to a fraction of their lives. However there were just some things that were over the top and pulled me out of the movie or just screamed stupid. At one point we have Frank walking the streets of the city, silent, wounded, and returning from a successful mission. Oh yeah he was also walking through inhabited streets with guns fully out in the open. Sorry no matter how bad the city is someone would have called the cops. There is a bazooka scene that comes from no where and is just over the top. Finally spoilers but at one point Frank literally puts his fist through a guys face. Just tonal wise the gore was at war with camp acting which in turn was at war with some gritty scenes. Nothing gels and it’s all a mess.

I’m glad I’ve seen this movie because now I can positively say that the Thomas Jane Punisher is the best so far. Take that Stevenson and Lundgren. Now I could recommend this movie to people who like the so bad it’s good stuff but all the same you should probably just avoid. I only got to see this because my dad had it, and he only had it because it was a two pack with the Thomas Jane movie. If you want to see a good Punisher movie then go watch Death Wish. Bronson is the man.


  1. But Ray Stevenson punches a guy through the face. THROUGH THE FACE!!!!

  2. Well that did surprise me but it take more than a man punching someone through the face to make me like a movie. Does make me wonder how much strawberry jelly they used for that scene.