I am a fan of the Punisher, mostly because he is mortal. His driving motivation is not to do good, it is to revenge the deaths of his family. There have been several attempts to turn the Punisher into a movie franchise but none seem to have gained enough of a following to define that franchise. That is until now.
For me War Zone is the best of all the Punisher movies. Sure it is low budget, the dialogue is often very much in keeping with the comics, there is a lot of testosterone and some very over the top performances. But that is its strength. Punisher War Zone is a movie that knows exactly what it wants to be. It is very well made, very violent and very bloody. The action is very well put together. You could almost draw a parallel to this and Sin City although this is not that comic.
The key for the franchise for me is Ray Stevenson as the Punisher. He has a quality onscreen that draws you to him. There is something almost graceful and predator in his movements and at the same time quite vulnerable in his features. As I frequently do with characters of this genre I weighed Ray Stevenson's worth as a possible Jack Reacher and he came very close to the ideal.
So all told, within the context of the genre I have no hesitation in giving this four stars. A great Friday night movie with the boys and for a fan of the comics.
Ray Stevenson,from Rome - Season 1-2 - Complete [DVD]and Outpost  [DVD] stars in this comic book,violent action-packed sequel to The Punisher [DVD]  .
Stevenson has grasped the chance to play tough guy roles and again he plays the vengeful hero with gusto.
He is somewhat wooden but perhaps that"s the fault of the scripts he has to work with,not his Thespian abilities.
If he ever gave up acting he could easily get a job as an arms dealer: there isn"t a weapon he hasn"t fired as far as I know.
Entertaining to watch if only for its simple pure action formula.
on 2 March 2010
Utterly brilliant mindless trashy rubbish. A direct translation of comic book (sorry graphic novel) spatter to the silver screen. Villains are vile, heroes anguished, cops equivocal about the vigilante, damsel in distress is gorgeous (as is her little girl - aaaaahh!), bloodshed is, errrr.... graphic, justice is done. What more could anyone ask? Especially at the ridiculously cheap price this film is available - less than a pint of beer, even including postage. Buy it now - you owe it to yourself.
on 30 July 2010
this is for me,hands down,the best Punisher movie hands down.i liked the story and there's plenty of action.also,there's no lame dialogue in this version.in fact the dialogue is kept to a minimum.but that works here.Ray Stevenson makes for A good Punisher.he seems very natural in the role. and delivers the lines he does have well.a word of warning though,this incarnation of the Punisher franchise is ultra violent and very graphic compared to the two previous Punisher movies.i was actually very surprised to find that this movie made almost no money at the box office.i guess maybe it was due to the fact that there weren't a gajillion explosions.anyway,for me Punisher:War Zone is a 4/5
There are two generally easily definable groups of fans of Marvel's The Punisher, those who appreciate the Punisher who originally appeared in The Amazing Spiderman comics, going on to have his own series really beginning with Circle of Blood, and those familiar with the Punisher from Marvel Knights, the Marvel Max label (which was aimed at a mature audience) and the PS2 game.
The earlier incarnation of the Punisher was a vietnam vet, had a virtual team of compatriots in the form of a hacker called Microchip, his son, a corrections officer, later that officer's widow and a series of other Marvel characters who would make cameos, such as Blackcat, Wolverine and others. This Punisher was a paragon of soldierly virtue and spent a fair amount of the time contemplating the ultimate paradox of his position, carrying out summary justice and by the same token deserving the same. In some ways this was Marvel's answer to Batman or a comic book version of Cobra.
The later incarnation of the Punisher was a darker, much more sinister characterisation, with a death wish, with more than a hint of a psychopathic 'true nature' underlying any supposed reason detre of vigilante rough justice. This is the version which featured in the recent PS2 game, Marvel Knights and Marvel MAX label. This version of the Punisher is a little like Rorschach from The Watchmen.
It is not so much the case that "never the two shall meet", because there are clear continuities between each for instance brooding dark humour, gun culture, characters shared by each such as Microchip. This movie is definitely going to appeal to the fans of the second, later characterisation of The Punisher more. Much more.
This is very much an actioner, however it can at times suffer for it, as though there where a series of fights and shoot outs filmed and a dirth of dialogue scenes added as an after thought. Attempts are made to cover a lot of ground from both incarnations of The Punisher and spanning almost the whole of the publishing history. The result was a little hit and miss. As a fan sometimes this was welcome to see keynote scenes from the comics featured, while at other times it felt too much as though it where something which deserved to be serialised, like The Shield or The Wire. So the continuity and pace may not be that great.
There are some amazingly gory and violent scenes in this movie and some of the characterisation I felt was all wrong, for instance there is a scene in which Castle/The Punisher, suggests he is going to quit and Microchip forcefully talks him out of this decision, Micro seems to be living out vacariously his own vigilante dream and he's also gun running throughout the movie. This is really upside down and back to front in my recollection of the comics (and earliest arcade/video game outing), although I should say that I'm a fan of Frank Castle's earlier, some how less malevolent or insane, incarnation.
As a movie it stands up and is watchable but I doubt it will be enjoyed as much by viewers who are not fans of the Punisher franchise. It may not be enjoyed as much by fans of the franchise who are waiting for the studios to get it right at last and produce something which is at least in the same league as Dare Devil or Electra. I'm also not sure there is a lot of rewatch value in it either, so perhaps rent it rather than buy it.
I hesitate to call this an improvement over the Thomas Jane version, which I think does recommend itself, particular to fans of the earlier Punisher even if the feature felt like it was only beginning at the very finish. It is a vast improvement over the woeful first cinematic outing of The Punisher (which hopefully can one day be dismissed as a totally non-canonical Dolph Lundgren vehicle). Perhaps hollywood is getting closer with every attempt.
The extras include commentary, the making of, the weapons of the punisher and the making of jigsaw.
The film kicks-off with a 'one-man' killing spree. 'Frank' makes
short work of Mobsters and their gun-totting side-kicks.
What 'Frank' hadn't immediately realized is that 'Mobster' 'Billy
Russoti' had survived the onslaught, badly dis-figured.
'The Punisher' had also killed on e of the good guys in the rapid
fire-fight, he now has problems on two fronts.
There are scores still to settle.
Plenty of 'action' and 'gore' on offer, best way to describe it
in truth is 'entertainingly' O.T.T.
The story-line perhaps a little thin, dialog not the best.
The 'Thomas Jane' / 'John Travolta' 'Punisher' movie was in my
The disc does have several additional features on board.......
# Training for the Punisher # The making of the Punisher #
# Creating the look of the Punisher # Meet Jigsaw # Weapons of the
Punisher # Director and Cinematographer commentary ~
The current purchase price of the 'DVD' £2.95....no money in truth.
on 29 July 2009
I never watched the original Punisher film starring Dolph Lundgren, though that was apparently less about the Punisher than a vigilante film.
I am a big fan of Thomas Jane's Punisher. Although it wasn't true to the comic book origins (Castle's family is killed by mobsters after they witness an execution in Central Park), it gave an air of humanity and allowed us to side with the Punisher in his quest for justice.
Stevenson's Punisher is far more darker, grittier and truer-to-life than Jane's. You could see it as the Punisher years after he has taken on the mantle, becoming less human and more killing machine. It stays true to the comics and fits in with Garth Enis' Punisher MAX series (which I'd recommend to all fans of this film).
As others have said, the villains aren't really 'villainous' - rather like the Saints in the first film, there's no reason to fear them.
But the film itself has many characters from the MAX series, giving it almost a comic book feel as you instantaneously recognise all the characters.
The Punisher MAX comics were awesome and this film is as brilliant as any of them. I hope Stevenson comes back for another round.
on 26 March 2014
Was wary with this one as i really liked Thomas Jane's Punisher but have to say Ray Stevenson was awesome as Frank Castle..great screen presence.
The action was pretty good but graphicallly violent with many heads coming apart which elevated the experience for better effectiveness.
My only gripe is why they can't keep follow on films storylines consistent, i like Tom jane's Punisher as i said so why dismiss that storyline altogether by showing a different way his family died, unless they are going by the comics which i have not read..they could have just moved the story along and have this as the next chapter in Castle's life.
All the supporting players were quite OTT but was fun to watch and the running time flew by.
on 5 December 2013
Frank Castle goes after a mob family and gets everyone except enforcer Billy Russoti.
He tracks him down and chases him into a vat that is used for crushing bottles. Frank turns on the crusher. He survives but sustains very severe injuries that even plastic surgery cannot fix. So he decides to adopt the name 'Jigsaw'.
Frank learns Russoti didn't die, and Russoti wants revenge on Frank so he breaks out his brother who is committed to an asylum, to deal with him.....
The first time I saw this movie, I hated it. I thought West was way over the top and ruined the whole movie. Five years later, found the movie on amazon for a penny, and thought, hey, we all deserve second chances....
I enjoyed it a lot better the second time around, thanks to one key scene, where West takes off the bandages and looks in the mirror, it's direct from Batman, so I put Jigsaw in the same box as Nicholson, and the film became less serious because of this.
The film still has major flaws though. Stevenson is woefully miscast as the Punisher, and looks out of place, but you get used to him after a while, so it's no real bother.
But Colin Salmon is awful in his role. His accent is bad, and adds nothing to the overall plot, if he was left out, it wouldn't have affected the film, just the 'They Live' inspired fight would have been left out.
Plus the sub-plot involving Frank killing an undercover agent, really throws the film for a while, the film was working without showing castles human side, Alexander should have gone action and darkness all the way, rather than giving him the opportunity to feel, and for a silly sacrifice choice toward the end. The Punisher is all about hatred and revenge, not empathy.
Hutchinson is fun in his role, and it's very violent throughout, something the last movie missed sorely.
So all in all, it's not the best Punisher movie, it's probably the poorest, but it's a watchable, guilty pleasure of a mess...
Another comic book movie, and the third time this particular character has gotten to the screen. The Punisher [just in case you're uninitiated, even though you probably aren't if you're reading this] is Frank Castle. US Special Forces veteran and a man always more at home in battle than in everyday life. When his family were caught in the crossfire of a mob execution and he was the only survivor, he took his revenge. He set out to make the world a better place by killing all the bad guys.
The first two versions, starring Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane respectively, divided opinion. So Frank got another go at the big screen. This time with British actor Ray Stevenson in the lead.
It's best to view this one as a fresh take on the character rather than any sequel to the Thomas Jane version. It doesn't tell Frank's origin story, as it starts with him having been the Punisher for years. And only recaps on it briefly later on in the film.
Here, a strike against a sadistic mob boss creates two problems for Frank. The mobster survives, but is horribly disfigured in the process. Taking on the name 'Jigsaw' he embarks on a campaign of revenge. Also, one mob soldier Frank killed turns out to have been an undercover agent. With his partner out to bring the Punisher to justice, and with Jigsaw out for revenge, plus with the agent's wife and young daughter caught in the crossfire, the Punisher has a lot to deal with.
Who will survive?
This does draw on more recent Punisher comics. A lot of supporting characters from those do pop up in the film. Although most in name only, some being different from their comic book counterparts. This doesn't compromise on the violence, delivering action and shooting scenes of the kind you would expect from a movie based on this character. They're bloody and graphic but never gratuitious.
Where it does score highly is in it's portrayal of it's central character. Ray Stevenson looks the part. And he manages to act the part as well, excellently depicting Frank's inner demons.
With a solid supporting cast, this is a film that never goes over the top, and manages to be both a good action movie and a thoughtful portrayal of the effect that the desire for revenge can have on people. Fans of the comic will find it well worth a look. Those after a decent action movie shouldn't be disappointed either.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
Subtitles: English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Hindi, Portugese, Spanish, Swedish.
It has a commentary from the director and the cinematographer.
The extras are a collection of short featurettes:
Training for the Punisher.
The Making of Punisher: War Zone.
Creating the look of the Punisher.
Weapons of the Punisher.
These run from three to eight minutes in length. All are a bit cursory and quick, but not bad for what they are.
There's also a trailers section, containing a generic trailer for blu-ray and trailers for four totally unrelated movies.