Punisher: War Zone Directed by: Lexi Alexander Cast: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, and Julie Benz Running Time: 1 hr 47 mins Rating: R
Plot: Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante-hero Frank Castle (Stevenson) sets his sights on overeager mob boss, Billy Russoti (West). After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengeance under his new alias ... Jigsaw.
Who’s It For? Anyone who can't be talked out of this being the Punisher film worth seeing. Maybe you didn't know, but this is the third Punisher film that Hollywood has tried. They need to stop. And kids should not see this bloody mess (just like they shouldn't play ultra-violent video games).
Expectations: I know better going to these films. All I was looking for was mindless action.
Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle (aka Punisher): I only saw the first season of HBO's "Rome," but I knew enough to like Stevenson. As Frank he doesn't talk for the first 20 minutes, and really he should have just kept his mouth shut. Not only that, it seems Stevenson isn't light on his feet, just lumbering around shooting people isn't enough to impress me. Score: 3
Dominic West as Billy Russoti (aka Jigsaw): Finally, a villain who can cry. Oh wait, never mind, that's a terrible idea and so is West in this film. Just awful. And I loved West in "The Wire" (one of the all-time best shows). He primps and preens in the beginning to let you know he's vain, and the accent is one the English actor should never try again. Score: 2
Talking: "Who punsihes you?" is asked of our dark hero. Well, the answer is clearly that Frank punishes himself ... on occasion ... when it's convenient to feel remorse. This really just zaps him of any tough guy persona. Which I believe is what you need when you punch a man's face off. Score: 2
Sights: One slow-mo action scene is the only style that is really attempted. Otherwise it's pretty straight forward and bloody as all hell. Tons of half heads to go around, whether it's a mother or a mother f**ker, everyone should feel like they filled their death quotient watching this film. Score: 3
Sounds: Why don't films take the time to make the music pound along with the action? I don't remember one minute of music from this film. That's not a good sign. Score: 1
Does a director actually think "I want people to laugh at my movie?" I'm all in favor of a good shoot'em film ... though Shoot'Em Up is a bad example, I hated that. But with Punisher: War Zone they have no idea what they are doing. It's sometimes a comic book and other times a poor man's Death Wish. I couldn't even enjoy the cool weapons because I was distracted by all the other nonsense. I mean, they give you an honest to God slide show to explain the backstory. Frank Castle is supposed to be the dark Dark Knight. This film is filled with dumb cops and dumber criminals who all have awful accents, and enough random extreme violence to hopefully put a nail in the Punisher coffin.
Final Score: 2/10