Punisher 2 Will NOT Be PG-13, Lexi Still Involved

Published 7 years ago by , Updated August 17th, 2008 at 11:33 pm,

punisher war zone2 Punisher 2 Will NOT Be PG 13, Lexi Still Involved

The saga of the Punisher: War Zone movie production has got to be one of the most soap-opera-ish things I’ve seen in the time I’ve been covering movie news here on Screen Rant. Rarely have I seen such angst and pain among not only fans of the comic book character that is being brought to the big screen, but movie fans in general.

Of course the roots run deep… all the way back to 1989 when New World Pictures brought us the first Punisher movie, starring of all people Swedish-born Dolph Lundgren playing the title character that was supposed to be a hard-boiled New York City cop. At the time he was considered “hot,” having come off of a couple of Rocky movies, and some genius thought it would be a great idea to cast him in the role.

Actually, if you want a good laugh, I’d recommend you try to find that version of the film for a rental.

punisher dolph lundgren Punisher 2 Will NOT Be PG 13, Lexi Still Involved
Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher (1989)

Fifteen years later in 2004 came another version, this time starring Thomas Jane. This was essentially a “reboot,” long before the word became common in the movie biz as a term for re-starting a franchise. This film was FAR better than the one that came before, but was still lacking. Again seemingly odd decisions were made, such as casting John Travolta as the bad guy and setting the film in sunny Florida of all places. I wrote a Punisher review that in hindsight was perhaps a bit harsher than it should have been.

punisher thomas jane Punisher 2 Will NOT Be PG 13, Lexi Still Involved
Thomas Jane as The Punisher (2004)

Then early in 2007 came word that there would be a sequel, hopefully better than the one made three year earlier – but word was that the script was pretty terrible. So terrible in fact that Thomas Jane, who starred in the previous one, dropped out of the project rather than be part of something that he didn’t believe in. Then director John Dahl decided not to do the film due to budget concerns and the fact that he didn’t like the script either.

Kurt Sutter, who wrote the original draft (it’s not clear to me whether it was HIS script that Jane and Dahl thought was awful) had his name removed from the credits earlier this year because he said that there wasn’t much left of his story in the film, apart from the how the main bad guy becomes the villain “Jigsaw.” The primary story came from Nick Santora, who has written TV episodes of gritty shows including Prison Break and Law and Order, and much of the script was written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (both of whom have a writing credit on one of this year’s biggest hits: Iron Man).

punisher 2 ray stevenson Punisher 2 Will NOT Be PG 13, Lexi Still Involved
Ray Stevenson as The Punisher (2008)

Eventually (actually, pretty quickly) the film turned from a sequel into a reboot, with director Lexi Alexander coming on board and Ray Stevenson taking over the title role. From that came concerns of whether a woman could direct a kick-ass, dark vigilante film (for the record, we never asked that here at Screen Rant). As production moved forward, she went out of her way to assure fans that yes, it would be hard core and brutal and would match the spirit of the comic book.

People still weren’t convinced, and then a series of news items floated that added fuel to the fire:

Honestly, having seen the trailers and based on what’s come out regarding this film I had a very hard time believing that any studio would be dumb enough to try to trim this down to a PG-13.

So today from loyal Screen Rant reader “Nomad” comes a link from The Raw Board forum where the cinematographer for the film, Steve Gainer, emphatically denied a lot of what has been said about the film. He stated the following:

  • Lexi is not off the film.
  • Lexi is still involved in the edit process.
  • The film is not (nor could it ever be) PG-13.
  • He saw a cut that ran 91 minutes.
  • Lexi did in fact get married (referencing the “she’s on her honeymoon” reason given by the studio for her non-appearance at the Con).
  • Lexi is an incredibly talented director, and this film kicks major ass, as will be proven when it is released in theaters December 5th.
  • The film is most certainly not all exploding heads, but will reveal a great deal of Frank’s persona and pain.

So there you have it, from someone involved in the production of the movie.

Now does this mean the movie will actually be great? Of course not… I’m sure that most people who work on even movies that turn out terrible think that the movie is awesome while they’re working on it (this is, by the way, a major mystery to me – you’d think it would be obvious).

I don’t know if Punisher: War Zone will be good or not at this point, but I’d put my money on an R-rating for the film.

All will be revealed on December 5th when the movie opens.

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  1. I still think she’s off the film, or maybe invited back after the horrible publicity.

    I believe the great writer/screenwriter William Goldman once said (and I paraphrase), “A movie’s shoot doesn’t determine if it’s going to be a good film or not.” Ie, if a shoot is horrid, the movie may end up awesome, and vice-versa. I’ve experienced it myself, many times.


  2. my neck is getting sore from my head snapping back and forth…. ” Lexi’s out …….Lexi’s in …… she’s out …. she never left…..PG 13 …. not PG 13………scored…….score replaced with heavy metal…….”
    this had better turn out to be a good flick :)

  3. i hope to god,that this Film is closer to the comic than the other 2 were

  4. that doesnt explain the changes at her website and the monkey logo.
    Clearly something happened .
    The movie has definitely been tinkered with.
    I will have nothing to do with it.

  5. Heath, I don’t think under any circumstance would they bring her back if she was in fact removied from the project.

    Well, as long as the stupid Heavy music is removed, I’m all for this film.

    Vic, I think you mean 15 years in your post between the first two punisher films…Unless I’m actually half my age ;)

    Good article, Good News

  6. Thank you Vic, for the research you did to produce this article.

    I need to say two things for the record.

    One is that George over at Latino Review is a great guy! Once he realised his source had mis-informed him, he manned up and did the right thing. That’s VERY unusual among bloggers. They usually gloss over their errors no matter who is hurt by them.

    Vic here at Screenrant is another good one.

    This is what George at Latino Review is now saying:

    Another update! It WILL be Rated R! Good news! (Plus this gives me a an excuse to go punch my source square in the bread basket.) Win win for everyone!

    The second thing is that I never saw this website before today! I’ve been posting the truth wherever I find I NEED to. But you can be sure, Vic, that I shall be a regular reader of Screenrant from now on.

  7. I don’t see how it is even possible for this film to be decent. I am not among the people questioning a woman making a violent film. I think she will have plenty of gore and violence for everyone. However I think this film will lack anything even close to depth. It’s going to be a blood bath similar to the film that were coming out in the 80′s all violence no substance. Van Damn could of been in this.

  8. No, Daniel. I can see why you worry, though. I never did because I saw all of HBO’s Rome. Ray Stevenson, the new Frank Castle, played one the best characters on that show, Titus Pullo. Pullo was a thug and a drunk, but Ray managed to make him the most beloved, too. If you’ve read any of his interviews or seen any of his video interviews about how he sees Frank Castle, you wouldn’t have a worry in the world. For links to all those interviews, visit http://www.ray-stevenson.com

  9. I’ve seen the show Stevenson is a decent actor not all that great however, he dosen’t fit the punisher role as far as i’m concerned and he is as good an actor as Thomas Jane either. Still though those arn’t my concerns. I’m concerned that there is a untalented director in charge of this film as well as a not so great writer. It also dosn’t help that every bit of promotion focuses very heavily on the obscene amount of violence and seems as though there is no story or depth to the film at all. Hell I don’t think Lexi would stand for there being depth in it anyway dosn’t seem like something she would want in a film of hers.

  10. I hear you, Daniel. About the trailers and teasers, those are done by people who specialise in them and rarely, if EVER, are the directors consulted. Well, I suppose if you’re James Cameron you’re consulted but otherwise not. Lexi didn’t even know the first teaser had been done when it was released. Teasers and trailers are marketing tools meant to get the most people possible into the theatres on opening weekend. Lion’s Gate has chosen to market the film by emphasising the violence, but that does NOT mean that there is no character development or story in the film. I’m not much of a fan of most trailers. They’re necessary evils, but I’ve never seen or NOT seen a film on the strength of its trailer.

    Now, as to Lexi Alexander. She directed Green Street Hooligans which is a really good film! And she was honored by the Motion Picture Academy with an Oscar nomination for her short film, Johnny Flynton. You can see that film on Lexi’s website http://www.lexialexander.com. Just click on “downloads” and there it is.


  11. Well, Daniel, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thinks Lexi’s work is pretty good, because they nominated her for an Oscar for Best Documentary Short. You can screen that film at http://lexialexander.com/Downloads.html

    I can’t imagine where you got the notion that Lexi Alexander wouldn’t want depth of character in her films! You might also check out Green Street Hooligans, which is a terrific film she directed about the football hooligan culture in Britain.

    Just because Lion’s Gate is choosing to market PWZ emphasising its violence doesn’t mean that’s all there is. Trailers are made MOST of the time withOUT the input of directors.

  12. Hi, just wanted to clear up a small thing about me getting “primary writing credit” as stated in your post. Though the general concept and storyline for PWZ was originally mine as was the creation of many characters and plot-lines, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway did a great deal of work on the script and it would be wrong for them to not to be properly acknowledged for their efforts. In fact, to be honest, I haven’t seen a final cut but I read the final shooting script and little of my dialogue was left in the script at all. Matt and Art did a lot of excellent work and I’m honored to share credit with them on this film. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Best, Nick Santora.

  13. Post updated to reflect Nick’s comments and a big thank you to him for dropping by!


  14. Oh, this changes everything.

  15. From the photos above, I think the new guy looks like a better Punisher than Jane OR Lundgren….

  16. I do like that bloke as an actor, and he was excellent in Rome.
    I have to say this though, Green Streets is awful movie. People laughed at it when it came out over here in the UK, especially the mockney accents, and it glorifies violence and tries to excuse itself with a soppy ending.
    If you want a spot on film about that culture, watch Gary Oldman in the Firm. Doesn’t glorify, doesn’t excuse, doesn’t hide.
    So I hope this is well above Green Streets.

  17. while i am skeptic if this will be a Good Movie or not, at least Ray Stevenson build and face looks most like the actuall punisher.
    Check this link out: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n5/n27935.jpg

  18. Nomad is right, Stevenson is perfect for the punisher, and the aim of this film is to make it actually like the comics unlike the previous.

    If you want to see Stevenson in another badass role, check him out in the outpost. His character has alot of similarities to the punisher in that flick.

  19. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here! I post something, and it doesn’t appear for a long time. So I write something else and post THAT, only to find out later that ALL of them went through! Sheesh! I really AM a techno-git!

  20. @Nomad

    Sorry about that. Sometimes comments get flagged for moderation or mistakenly as spam for various reasons. Rest assured that I check those locations for “false positives” and when I find a valid post I publish it.

    That’s where the delay comes from. :-)


  21. I have seen Lexi’s films. I wouldn’t insult someones talent with out looking at their work. The be honest I found them to be trash. Just because you are nominated or even win an award doesn’t make your film great or even good. He could list a large number of movies that have been nominated and even won Oscars and all the other major awards and were still crap.

    I know how trailers work, but don’t lay all the blame on lions gate. It’s not just lions gate trying to market this film for it’s violence. Did you ever read Lexi’s sit and her updates? All she could talk about was the violence.

  22. Ah, and all was well in the world again =)

  23. This story was updated btw

    “The Real Punisher War Zone Story”

  24. The original Punisher film with Dolph is the best. This guy is a dbag!

  25. Punisheri oyun’unu çok seviyorum