Punisher: War Zone Review

Published 6 years ago by , Updated April 30th, 2009 at 9:10 pm,

Short version: Whether you enjoy Punisher: War Zone or not will depend completely on what you’re looking to get out of it.

punisher war zone review Punisher: War Zone Review
Screen Rant reviews Punisher: War Zone

So… there are two approaches I take to reviewing movies here at Screen Rant. Sometimes I review movies from a more “overall” perspective – generally speaking, and compared to most other movies out there, is it a good movie or a bad one overall?

Then I have what I call a “context review.” This is where I decide whether to basically adjust the bell curve and review a movie from more of a niche perspective. In other words, does it accomplish what it sets out to do within the context of its genre?

Examples of this would be movies I’ve given 4+ star reviews to like The Signal and Shoot ‘em Up, and even movies I’ve given 5 out of 5 stars to like Kung Fu Hustle.

Were these movies perfect? Oscar-worthy? Of course not. Did they deliver what they promised within their respective genres? Absolutely.

So the question is: On which side of the fence does Punisher: War Zone fall? Based on what I’d heard prior to seeing the film I would have to say I’d have to review it in the latter category. But even using that criteria, some films fail miserably.

This film has suffered through probably the MOST controversy throughout its production of any movie we’ve covered here at Screen Rant – yet I kept an open mind going in.

Enough of that, right? What’s the verdict?

Punisher: War Zone was fun.

At least as much fun as an R-rated, bloody, violent as hell movie about a vigilante can be.

This version of the Punisher is a clean-slate restart of the movie version of the character – it assumes there has never been a Punisher movie prior to this one. During the opening credits (which were really cool, btw) we learn that a mob boss who was on trial has been set free due to a mistrial – the judge presiding over the case was murdered. Cut to a fancy mansion with cars arriving where we meet Billy Russoti (soon to become Jigsaw) and from the first moment we see him his brutal personality is made clear. As it turns out he’s an extremely vain SOB, making his soon to be fate that much more meaningful.

It doesn’t take long for the first action scene to arrive, and it’s a doozy. The violence and gore in this first scene, while not played for laughs, is so over the top that I found myself laughing out loud – in a good way. Who knew that watching a bunch of bad guys getting shot, stabbed, skewered and beaten could be so much fun?

We also see that the NYPD is on Frank Castle’s (the Punisher‘s real name) side. They go through the motions of having a “task force” (of one apparently inept guy) trying to hunt him down – but really they’re glad to have his help.

While trying to track down and go after Billy, Castle accidently kills an undercover FBI agent and he takes it extremely hard. BTW, this is where Russoti turns into Jigsaw and all I can say about how it happens is, DAMN…

Having lost his own wife and two children in violence, attending the funeral of the agent and seeing the surviving wife and young daughter causes Castle to decide to hang it up. The fellow who supplies him with weapons convinces him that Jigsaw will be going after the wife and daughter, so Castle says fine, but this will be his last job.

In the meantime Jigsaw breaks his apparently insane, homicidal maniac brother James out of a mental institution in order to help exact revenge and kill the Punisher. This guy was played by Doug Hutchison and I thought his performance was one of the worst things about the movie. It was pretty cheesy and goofy in my opinion. I actually liked Dominic West as Jigsaw (moreso when he still had his own face). He played the character as “hard core” New Yorker – I half expected him to throw in a “mook” or “palooka” at some point, but it worked for me.

And Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle? I thought he nailed it. No disrespect to Thomas Jane, but I never bought him as the Punisher. Stevenson on the other hand – never doubted him as the character for a second.

As to the violence in the film – holy cow. Earlier rumors of a possible PG-13 for this? Give me a break. Doubts about Lexi Alexander doing justice to the kill scenes because she’s a woman? Leave those at the door. Punisher: War Zone is at its best when it’s delivering its particular brand of over the top, 1980s movie style violence. This is gun action/violence as it should be: bloody and gory as hell.

So why all the bad reviews? I think people are judging this from an “overall” point of view instead of a “niche” view. You see this isn’t Iron Man or The Dark Knight… this is (as Massawyrm at AICN pointed out) a comic book movie that knows it’s a comic book movie. It’s not shooting for a serious, real-world take as much as other movies are in the current superhero movie trend. The action is over the top – sometimes to the point that it makes you laugh, but in that put-a-grin-on-your-face “that was AWESOME!” kind of way. icon smile Punisher: War Zone Review

It’s no cinematic tour de force – no Oscars will be given here. Most of the acting is mediocre, some outright bad. There’s cheesy dialog and some silly characters (a free-running Rastafarian-looking black guy with a Brit/Irish accent for one), but when Frank Castle is doing what he does best, you’ll forget all that and revel in the awesomeness of seeing scores of bad guys get what’s coming in a ton of creative ways. Oh, and the beat-down the two main baddies get at the end are among the most satisfying “bad guy finally gets what’s coming to him” scenes I’ve seen in a film in recent memory.

So, if you go into this looking for a good time I think you’ll come out pretty satisfied. Go into this expecting a “good” movie and you’ll end up laughing at it, not with it.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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  1. So the Tom Jane film is boring and he looks nothing like the character,,, ok ok.

    Ok I’ll keep that in mind,,,
    Sheesh I’m glad I didn’t pay for this copy,,,

  2. @ Ken J

    Great post..Thanks

  3. @ Ken J

    I love me a good vigilante film, in fact they’re my favorite type of stories but PWZ still sucks.

    I can see you feel real personal about the Punisher, that’s great! But I’m here to talk about movies not your own personal justice philosophy and I definitely don’t think the world would be better if people, say, like you got some guns and killed whoever they deem ‘bad’. I don’t think any one person is good enough to judge all others. I mean how good can you really be?

    You don’t murder or steal, well that’s great but far from being perfect. And if you are not perfect, what gives you the right to judge others?

    I don’t expect you to agree but maybe you can be open-minded enough to think about that.

    “There are men,” wrote Aristotle, “so godlike, so exceptional, that they naturally, by right of their extraordinary gifts, transcend all moral judgment or constitutional control: There is no law which embraces men of that caliber: they are themselves law.”

  4. High caliber, not to sound like a smart ass, but seriously, how many times do I need to repeat myself in saying that obviously this can never work in real life? That I’m only agreeing with the hypothetical concept of this perfect vigilante that only kills bad people. I’ve said what you’re saying, explained it, and repeated the explanation like 4 times already… I would again, but I really really hate repeating myself, you’re just going to have to go back and read my previous posts, because there’s really no other way to explain it than what has already been said.

    But anyway, if you still don’t see it, don’t worry about it, however you think I feel about the subject, I’d rather you completely misinterpret what I’ve said than for me to have to repeat myself one more time. So let’s just leave it at that. I’m not TRYING to be rude, but I really can’t figure out any other way to say it, sorry.

  5. I wasn’t asking you to explain your justice philosophy… AGAIN. I was more addressing your comment about my taste for vigilantes which you had completely wrong and I thought I clearly stated that with the first sentence.

    “you’ll be one of those people who are like “oh, he’s a criminal himself, blah blah blah.”

    Anyway, to each his own, I don’t care for the Punisher chracter but I also don’t mind him. I don’t like PWZ because it is not a good movie.

    I guess I won’t repeat myself anymore either.

  6. people who dont like this seem to be the ones who arent old fans of the comic series. if you read the books and really understood frank castle then you would look at this movie differently. frank castle never claims to be a hero nor does he wish to be. some people call him a hero, hell even the other hero’s in the comics don tlike him and try to stop him. he truly believes he is in a war after his family is taken from him. he believes thats what he was meant for and fate did this to him, in one comic he says “fate did what it does and now i do what i do” and of course it should be over the top. i mean here is a man without super powers living in a super human world punishing bad guys the way the super hero’s refuse to, and he gets away from them too with no powers except his amazing will and trained mind.

    theres a punisher comic called punisher kills the marvel universe. its a what if comic where frank castle’s family is killed in a fight between super heros and super villians and he kills every superhero and super villan in marvel comics, its “fun” to read, here is a normal guy taking out every superhero there is.frank castle shouldnt be a deep complex character , hes a man in a war that never ends and he knows it, he just does what he does and this movie hits that on the head, and stevenson looks like he came right out of the books. this is the punisher , violent and simple.

  7. one more thing here.

    i hate when movie makers take comic characters and try to make them “a good movie” by taking away what made the comic good just to try to make money.i used to read the punisher and other comics to get away from the real world for a little while and enjoy my favorite character and be taken into there world for a little while and when i went to see this movie i was hoping it would do the same and be like reading an issue of punisher warzone and take me to that place, and it did excatly that.so i for one loved this movie and i always will, i dont care if they never make another one, im happy i finally got my punisher movie for us real punisher fans.

  8. OMG. Deep breaths…

    Yah, ok, exactly, you’re right… No more needs to be said high…

    Deep breaths…

  9. As a reader of The Punisher (Though– only the most recent, Garth Ennis series) I quite — QUITE — enjoyed the film.

    I could list, on one hand if I grouped them by category, every complaint I had, that I felt like detracted from painting a correct (not necessarily good) picture of the character and his relationship with the world.

    In what I’ve read of the Punisher, a few things you mentioned fit perfectly:

    1) While the NYPD doesn’t, per se, approve of Castle, he’s mostly tolerated.

    2) The Punisher, despite being a comic book, is not for children. It’s incredibly violent, and doesn’t shy away from the fact that Frank Castle’s a killer– not like, for instance, Batman who would NEVER kill his enemies.

    My complaints, few as they were:

    1) There are two scenes where a normal person (Well… not superhuman) decides to fist fight with Castle. That’s ridiculous; Castle’s not superhuman, like Captain America or Iron Man, but he’s nearing the upper limit in human physical abilities. The idea that someone could take him if he’s crazy enough? Don’t be silly.

    2) The outfit change. I know– not major, and it works. But for posterity, it’s gotta be here.

    3) The treatment of the little girl. It’s accurate, but it shies away from how ridiculously sensitive Castle is to children, IMHO. If the girl were to come in danger, then there’d be no dilemma– the child comes first, no matter what. In fact, he would most likely have tried to protect her from any possible ear damage, or any gruesome sights as well.

    The consensus seems to be that people who wanted a good movie thought it wasn’t, and the people who wanted a comic movie thought it was. I wanted a comic movie, and I got it.

    But you’re right– it was what it was supposed to be, and that’s a movie telling a comic book story– not necessarily a great film from any non-comic perspective.

  10. I didn’t care much for the film, I think Vic is way off the mark here. First, I was willing to give the film a chance. I did like the plot point of Frank feeling some remorse over the shooting of the undercover agent. If…anything was actually done about it.

    **note:beware of a few spoilers in the following**

    Argue all you want about our fantasies of seeing crooks and criminals getting automatic justice; a FBI agent was killed in the story and the local police-who are helping Castle- come off as stone cold jerks. Castle shows up to the dead agent’s door with a bag full of…what?

    Say it, I dare you. If the answer is ‘money’, where did Castle get that money? Say it. Say it, I dare you. I double dare you.
    He got it from the mob because he’s the guy that ripped it off, right? When Jigsaw and LBJ hunt for missing money, they think the dead agent skimmed it, and go terrorize the dead agent’s family. The family is later taken hostage.

    The little girl then says ‘you’re one of the good guys’ to Castle. The guy who killed her dad. The guy who looted mob money and was about to leave that money at the family doorstep. The same money the bad guys were looking for. The guy who her father even admired.

    And..nobody finds that a bit odd?

    As for LBJ, the casting was wrong-Doug Hutchinson was playing a slight variation of Tooms from X-Files, only instead of livers, it’s kidney’s,necks and applesauce (but at least LBJ and Castle had a decent battle, I’ll give the film that)

    The photography was awlful. Some of it was for stylist purposes, but I got irritated when a closeup of an actor was far right of the screen for no reason whatsoever. There was also some jump editing which sadly reminded me of a DTV Seagal flick I witnessed not too long ago.

    Jane “didn’t look like the Punisher”. blah blah blah. He was still better than Stevenson in acting and action. Hell, Dolph was better than Stevenson- yes, Dolph- in acting and action. Which brings me to this:

    *In the Lundgren version (89) Punisher lived underground. There were also production problems with that film, to Skull or not to Skull. From my understanding of the new film, Lexi didn’t want the skull in the film that much. And it isn’t, only painted on kevlar, and faded out.

    West was worse than Travolta. Hutchinson can’t hold a candle to Patton as a henchman.

    Above, a commenter pointed out the Doctor unraveling Jigsaw’s new look as a nod to Burton’s Batman. I think it could be an homage- there’s a huge difference from homage to rip off. Heck, why stop there? Jigs fell into the vat of glass instead of green goo. It’s obvious. But it it didn’t bug me.

    What bugged me was that it was too over the top, and outright horrible. Aside from some hand to hand, gunfights and action were boring. Punisher WarZone should not have been this campy. You should all hang your heads in shame.
    Instead of leaving the brain at the door, folks are just better off leaving.

  11. Darren–

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, and if you disliked the film, that’s fine.

    Just one thing:

    Jigsaw’s not some guy they made up for the film (Which I’m rather glad for– none of the villains were made up by the writers for the film) but in fact has been around some time now. But it’s clear that you’re not really complaining about that point as a central one, so I’m sorry you didn’t like it.

  12. Here ya go Greenknight333, here’s my Punisher Extended Cut dvd re-view…
    Hope you check it out,,, :-)

  13. saw this over the weekend and it was honestly terrible. incredibly cheesy and not in the cool b movie way, just plain bad. I’d give it a 2 at most definitely not a 3.

    best/funniest scene was when punisher shoots the guy in the head after he was arrested, it was such a punisher thing to do i loved it.
    Stevenson did look like an ok punisher, he looked a little like that character Big from sex and the city. And the fact that they where in New York made me laugh a lot thinking it could be the same guy. But he looked imposing and strong so ok. Also when he threw jigsaw into the bottle crushing machine, that was also well done. Though the way the character became jigsaw resembled the original Batman movie creation of the joker too much. The falling in part surviving and then the whole plastic surgeon scene.

    The acting overall was Uwe Boll movie bad, though Stevenson seems like he can act he wasn’t given much to work with.

    The mother was terrible in dealing with her daughter. The little girl did a good job, but the fact the mother just seemed not to care who the little girl interacted with (such as murderous punisher, the Latin kings guy-yeah play with my little girl, obviously in a gang, face tattooed dude, who hangs out with the punisher and the punisher doesn’t trust, who just killed my husband recently). Also showed little emotion when people where violently murdered in front of her little girl. Like didn’t shield her eyes just kind of stood there and watched. So that was very wtf?

    But in all this talk of at least it was fun, sure it passed the hour and mins. But it has no re-watch ability, I don’t want to buy this even for 5 bucks at the Wal-Mart or blockbuster. I doubt I can sit though it again. The “funny” scenes, where not funny instead I cringed and said “oh come on.”

    It managed to send the message that the military can make loving husbands who when pushed will become total bad ass killers. But also make the same message that the military will trick you out of money promised and then get you killed, so join a gang there’s a real future in that. (if you don’t know what I’m talking about refer to the scene where jigsaw plans on recruiting for his army, he actually talks s- about military contracts.). So which is it military good or bad?

    I honestly liked the Thomas Jane punisher, a lot more. People complain it wasn’t THE punisher movie, and I’ll agree, but it was at least a decent film, with ok to good acting, which I can re-watch, and still be entertained.

    Also I saw people saying it was a good comic book movie, those statements make me wonder, since when was the original source being a comic book an justification for a second, in this case third rate movie quality. Saying things like that belittle the original material, which I consider art. If you’re such fans of the character and it’s books you would not accept this as quality. I know that the punisher is not very realistic and it’s hard to translate frank to a movie medium, but in capable hands, it’s possible. Immerse me in his world, show me why and how he does what he does. How it affects his world. There’s a lot of psychological aspects of his character, as well as frank being a physical character with many possibilities of sheer violent/action entertainment. Those are great basis for stories and movies, why they aren’t exploited is beyond me.

  14. almanza – I dunno about other commenters– I commented that it was a “comic” movie because if I were to see a guy, for instance, smash someone’s face in with a single blow in a Schwartzenegger film, I’d laugh at how stupid it was. But, because of the extremely visual, often overstated nature of comic books, if this happened in any comic (well… sans-gore, usually) I wouldn’t be surprised or bothered by it at all.

    The biggest problem, as many of my friends have pointed out to me, is that if you go into, for instance, Iron Man as a fan of the comic, you’re bored with the story. Even I, not an Iron Man fan, have heard the origin a hundred times if I’ve heard it once. I’ve been having the same mis-givings regarding the upcoming(-ish) Captain America film, a book I am a big fan of. I’d rather see a story about Cap saving the world from the Red Skull– not about Steve Rogers buffing up and fighting Hitler, because that story’s already been told numerous times. This movie began in medias race, and it didn’t coddle the viewer, assuming that because it’s not a comic book format, we must not know anything about this guy the Punisher. Despite the fact that he didn’t ever say anything that the readers of Punisher have come to figure out over the years, and neither did anyone else, how much of a digression did he make from those rules? Really, how much did they explain it in so many words in any of his comics? (If I’m wrong here, feel free to provide some evidence– I have a bad habit of not giving up arguments until someone’s demonstrated their point)

  15. linsolv- about the first part, “comic book movie” I wasn’t specifically commenting about your post, it’s a comment I’ve seen overused lately, like I said not to describe a movie based on a comic book, but a bad/average/mediocre movies justified as successful because it comes from a comic book, so there’s no need to expect better.

    But I understand what you’re saying about comics being visually “overstated.” but when translated into a movie, there are a decisions that need to be made in order for the translation from page to film medium to function successfully. the script for the punisher just wasn’t good enough, when adding the weak acting, the fact that things are overstated just weaken the movie. The reason Arnold movies work as over the top, is because the other parts are well done, the fighting, the humor, the direction, the acting. This movie did not come together well, hence I believe it a bad movie. Overstatement is not necessary in a comic book movie, look at works like ghost world, even the first x-men film had a very down to earth tone, even with it’s superpowers, the direction was a scientific and a realistic one. But in certain movies like sin city the stylized overstatement worked extremely well. But the punisher never found it’s home, it shifted continuously from scene to scene from moments of realism ( trying to be serious and dramatic at the church, or when he’s alone and reaches desperation in the sewers), to complete camp (any scene with Looney bin Jim- ugh such a bad character), it was distracting.

    As for the second part I didn’t completely understand what you meant. I get it if you’re tired of hearing origin stories, because you have been a long time fan or you simply just have known and are bored by origins. But I don’t really see your point here, how is anyone unfamiliar with the material going to be introduced to a character without a degree of origin or at least some sort of explanation in the movie?
    Again I didn’t really get what you where trying to have me discuss.

    I want to take a stab at what I kind of understood, but I don’t want you to chew me out as unable to prove my point if I’m not even getting what you mean. here I go… you’re talking about how the movie just started with action and took off with little explanation, I don’t see that as a problem as long as eventually the characters get dept and become interesting enough for an involvement (sometimes emotional, sometimes for villains a dislike, etc). I’m not sure what format you speak of, but there are books that speak of Castle’s pre-punisher violent tendencies and psychological mind set, such as Born (a mini about his Vietnam days). What didn’t he (I’m assuming you speak of Frank Castle) say? If you mean that I didn’t think that Stevenson was THE punisher, well he did an ok job but he was so inconsistent, he changed his mind about being the punisher about 3 times and every time it took the tiniest thing to set him on or off course (well the death of the officer I get). He made constant mistakes, otherwise known as plot holes, that just didn’t make sense, and when he wanted to correct things he usually still made mistakes. So how are you supposed cheer for the flawed hero (yeah he’s a killer but he should make you believe in his cause) when he’s so incompetent.

  16. Um, I’m not disagreeing that the film was poorly made, but just want to comment about something that Darren Seely said about the money’s origin. That money is obviously mob money, but it’s not *THE* money Jigsaw is specifically after. That is the money he has “saved” up, basically what he takes here and there when he kills the mobsters.

    Jigsaw GAVE the FBI informant a large sum of money to launder, which probably went into FBI evidence. Stevenson didn’t take that money. That money was already gone long before Stevenson accidentally killed him, Jigsaw didn’t know he was an informant at the time and trusted him with the money.

    At least that’s what I got from that, from their conversation in the recycling plant office. They talked about how their money is being laundered and is being taken care of by that guy that turned out to be an agent.

    And him giving them money, I know money doesn’t pay for the loss, but what else was he going to offer? Offer to give her a hug? He wanted to leave and retire and give all the money he had saved up to her, instead of using it himself to live a lavish life. I think given the circumstances, he’s trying as hard as he could to at least make a difference in the child’s life to somewhat counter the negative affect he has already caused them.

    But objectively, going under-cover with mobsters is a dangerous job, and every agent that does this knows this. The chances of friendly fire is actually a big part of this danger. Sometimes they get into situations where they might get shot by local police because they were trying to “pretend” to be one of the mobsters, but the cops don’t know that the one guy there is only pretending while the rest are for real… And in the raid the FBI was planning, there is that chance that he might end up in the wrong place and get shot by a member of the FBI since he’s dressed just like any of the other mobsters. In reality, the death occured as the result of Jigsaw’s activities. Frank Castle didn’t go after a federal agent, he went after Jigsaw and his mob, and he killed one that was dressed like the mob. Of course those directly affected will not see it that way, but from a bird’s eye view, you get a less biased view of the events.

    And lastly, say what you want about the film. Obviously Lionsgate was being Lionsgate and compeltely mishandled the movie and Lexi Alexander seems unfit to direct movies. But I don’t see where you are getting the idea that Ray Stevenson cannot act. He acted as appropriately as he could have that the content of the script allowed. The script was bad, and he didn’t have any chance to display any acting. I’ve watched 22 episodes of Rome with Ray Stevenson in it (twice). That’s close to 22 hours worth of material. I think that gives you a much clearer perception of someone’s acting ability than an hour and 40 minutes of a poorly directed and poorly written film. But hey, what do I know right?

    But you have to admit one thing. At LEAST this isn’t like all of the other 80′s style action movies where the protagonist ends up with the chick at the end. And yes, there were plenty of them where the protagonist kills the woman’s husband/boyfriend in the beginning, then they end up getting together at the end… I’m SO glad they managed to avoid that blunder with the retarded writers that they had…

  17. I just saw this movie yesterday, and I loved it. I fully intend on seeing it again, and buying it when it comes out on DVD. Good bloody, violent fun. BRING IT!!

  18. “a free-running Rastafarian-looking black guy with a Brit/Irish accent for one”

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but from what I’ve heard that’s supposed to be McGinty (a character from the comics) who is indeed a Rastafarian black guy from Dublin.

  19. @Ryan

    Oh my gosh – now I feel bad! Plus, I actually met the actor this summer in San Diego and didn’t know it was him in the movie (double doh!). :-)


  20. A few follow up responses:

    “And him giving them money, I know money doesn’t pay for the loss, but what else was he going to offer? Offer to give her a hug?” (Ken J)

    No-how about turning himself in? I know it would not be much of a story there, but if the local police are on his side…

    …as for the clarification that it wasn’t *the* money Jigsaw was looking for, it is my understanding that he found out that his former henchman was an FBI agent, so it can be assumed that the money is gone? More importantly, if Jigs is working for the FBI sting (as a means to an end), surely they would tell him that *they* have the money in evidence, right? It was strongly suggested he wasn’t just a snitch-but that he bought some of those agents off (now, before someone jumps in and says, they never said…they *did* just let Jigs and LBJ go)

    Not to mention that it might even be more reasonable if after being turned loose by crooked Feds who give Jigsaw a file on Microchip (note: Castle is wanted by the feds and yet they are watching Mirco…but can’t locate Castle by following Mirco? Or were they saving this information for…?) and Jigsaw would figure out that Castle has at least *some* looted mob money. Yet he ever asked about it, so he doesn’t know about it. Jigsaw only asked about the money he was looking for. That’s why I logically concluded the money was one in the same, if not some of it.

    “Jigsaw’s not some guy they made up for the film…” (Linsolv)

    I never said he was. I did say, the way the actor protrayed him made him more over the top and worse off than Travolta’s Howard Saint, which was made up. I’m talking about the acting mostly, the way the character is written second. Even if I didn’t know the comics history (which I do) it is irrelevant, as I was pointing out something else entirely. Indeed:

    “it’s clear that you’re not really complaining about that point as a central one”

    So why bring it up?

  21. And how is turning himself in going to be doing more than giving her money when he knows the police will let him go?

    Look, the plot was not thought out very well, but for the circumstance, other than committing suicide I don’t really see any more he could have done than to give her all the money and go into retirement.

  22. almanza– Sorry for the slow response, I’ve been feeling lazy when there’s nothing going horribly wrong with my computer.

    To answer your statements, I disliked Castle as a character for some time, until I started to understand the basis for the character (it might’ve been you, might have been someone else, commented about the lack of discussion on the deeper parts of Castle’s character) after a little bit of reading on some commentary. So, I went out to my local (actually… it’s a little further away than the really local one across the street, which didn’t have it… but I digress) comic store and bought the first 2 issues of the Garth Ennis [IE latest] series, and enjoyed it.

    While everything I’d expected remained true about the character, the comic book never said that, for instance, Castle held children as sacred. And I felt like it needed to be said that it was still obvious in the comic, and it shouldn’t have to be said in the movie.

    You’re right about the relative lack of commitment, though. That was… silly.

    Darren– It’s my long-time experience that an argument is based around a few central points, and then some non-central ones; defending against (or attacking) an argument involves trying to disprove any of them. If you don’t have an argument to knock down one of the central pillars, then you have to pick at the outside instead.

    I liked Jigsaw, somewhat. But Loony Bin Jim… frustrated me, as well.

  23. follow up #2:

    “. But I don’t see where you are getting the idea that Ray Stevenson cannot act. ” (ken J)

    I didn’t say he was a bad actor. What I did say is (in my view) he wasn’t great in this film. Note I mentioned Doug Hutchinson, who was great in those X-Files episodes, and he was good in The Green Mile and one of my favorite underrated films , The Salton Sea. I don’t think he’s a horrible actor, but …this film does him no favors.

    Do I feel that the friction between Lexi Alexander and Lionsgate was present in the film? I believe it. Do I think the best possible movie that they could make under such conditions was made? I’m not so sure, but I’d like to think so.

    Which reminds me. I’d like everyone to note that I also liked the previous two Punisher films for varied reasons, yet each had their flaws. In both films, Punisher still punished the guilty using varied methods, be it indirectly causing a mob war or playing mobsters against each other. I want to point that out, because it seems to me the tone of the comments directed at those who didn’t like the latest film is that we have a problem with the character overall, when in truth, there are those (like me) who simply didn’t like the film.

  24. Darren– I’m sorry if you got the impression that I (or anyone else, I’m just speaking for myself) gave you the impression that you aren’t qualified to dislike the film as much as you please, without any regard to our opinions. I, personally, didn’t like the Thomas Jane movie, but I like Dolph Lundgren unconditionally. :)

  25. About Stevenson, it just sounded like you were trashing him as an actor. I get what you’re saying about the movie, it didn’t actually give him much opportunity to do much acting. But at the same time, I felt that he was the only one that even attempted to take the film seriously. Which I appreciate because I actually did enjoy the scenes of just him killing people. But whenever any of the other main characters came on screen, it was hard to watch…

  26. Thumbs up to Vic for being more than the typical uppity movie reviewer, and acknowledging that there are multiple approaches to reviewing a movie, and applying the proper review to PWZ. Thumbs down to the reviewers who fail to note the difference, and continue to act like film snobs.

    We now have three takes on the Punisher character all with some hits and misses.

    Dolph Lundgren Punisher is overall a pretty good adaptation that is handicapped by cliche 80s production, and content. I think they did about the best they could in that era, but it is dated and fails to capture the essence of the source material. Its an old favorite.

    Thomas Jane Punisher is the big budget attempt that the Punisher deserved, and it has the acting chops, the special effects, and stunts we all expected, but the script(overshadowed by studio politics), and some of the pyschology really drag it down. I geeked for this one despite what I feel is a total misunderstanding of the character.

    Ray Stevenson Punisher is almost the antithesis of the Jane Punisher. The script isn’t much better, but the psychology, and depiction of the comicbook character is leaps and bounds over the Jane version. PWZ lacks the big budget production, but gives us the carnage we expect in lieu of the high dollar production value. This is my favorite version of the Punisher, for me its about getting the character right, and I can see past PWZ’s already well stated downfalls, just like I can see past the obvious downfalls of a movie like nosferatu, or a stooges flick. Its not always about the big budget, or high production value.

    The biggest problem I had with PWZ is the exclusion of the skull from Franks chest plate. The skull is a pyschological, and tactical ploy that plays heavily into the character, which I have already mentioned is what does it for me. To me it shows some level of misunderstanding about the source material. The skull is too campy for the movie, but not the piles of other camp they threw in??

    Franks psychology is great throughout the movie, and Im puzzled by some of the comments directed at Stevensons ability to convey it, or even the lack of it altogether. Frank is a sado-masochist, who chooses to punish HIMSELF for not protecting his family in the park. Once you accept that everything he does makes sense. He is a normal person who has the ability to move on just like anyone else, yet throughout the movie you see him continually look for triggers that heap pain upon him, visiting his families grave, allowing the girl to play with his daughters possessions, the “who punishes you” scene where he attempts to goad the woman into shooting him. Franks mission isn’t so much about punishing those who are guilty for his families death as it is about punishing himself for surviving. For me Stevenson pulled this off in a subtle way, that I liked even a little better than Jane.

    Take from them what you will, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how good the movie is, but how much you enjoy it. Thats where Vic nails it. If you saw it and you didnt have fun thats ok, if you did thats good too. But, if you didnt like it why waste more of your time, and prolong your misery by making countless posts about how much you dont like it? Suck it up guys, and go do something that makes you happy.

  27. @790

    Thomas Jane Punisher dvd extended cut?? That’s mean more shirtless scene of Thomas Jane right? haha.. only girls and fags are love that movie.. if u like smart revenge movie.. u better watch Mel Gibson’s “Pay Back”.. way lots better than Tom Jane Punisher… and about PWZ, despite the bad acting, it looks more like The Punisher than the last two movies.

  28. DracooLa is that ur new (spam filter friendly) name, FU/KJ?
    Never saw the Thomas Jane,”Punisher” original cut so I wouldn’t know what’s been put in or extended… (Does that make any kinda sense to u?)
    How’s high school going for ya,? Got a girlfriend, or are you just stalking someone ???

  29. Hey, tattoo, the way I see it, they made the skull subdued so it’s less of a target. Having a bright white skull on his chest could hinder his ability to do the things he does. I get the sense that some thought was put into his character, but then the rest of the movie was just thrown in there without much thought…

    Not to mention, the paint would eventually rub off to be something like the way they show it if he actually actively goes out and kills people as often as is depicted in the film.