There has been a tremendous amount of bad press surrounding The Punisher War Zone over the past several weeks.
Stories have been flying about stating that the director Lexi Alexander was fired from the production and that the film was being re-cut and laced with a Heavy Metal soundtrack.
Now the reliable Latino Review has a source stating that the film is going to be cut so that it is suitable for a PG-13 audience..
So what the heck is going on with The Punisher? Will the film be any good?
My belief is that the film will turn out to be pretty average. I enjoyed the last Punisher film, but I can't say that I'm a big fan of the comic book. This new version appears to be a film made by a committee, which is quite strange considering the low budget and pulp leanings of the character's origin.
The Punisher isn't a character who will sell Happy Meals - he's a gritty vigilante who uses murder as an act of revenge. Due to this I don't think that he's suited to a PG-13 rating, although some would argue that Batman isn't either - but at least he doesn't kill!
I just don't think that The Punisher as a character has enough going on to warrant a film (or series of films). I believe that Lionsgate feels that they need to make the film, having bought the rights to the comic book without fully understanding what they wanted to do with them. This film has had a long and painful gestation process with Thomas Jane dropping out (to be replaced by Ray Stevenson); issues with finding a director; and then the original script being rewritten. Now it would appear that the film's post production is equally traumatic.
Following the release of the Red Band trailer it seemed like fans of the character were about to get the big screen version of their favorite character that they always wanted. Now it would seem like they'll have to wait for the unrated DVD to be released. Maybe this has been Lionsgate's plan all along: Release the film as PG-13, make back its modest budget (like the previous film) and then make a killing with multiple DVD versions. It wouldn't be the first time that something like this has happened.
I'm sure that we will discover the truth soon enough, but I would hate to feel that the studio is trying to rip-off true fans of the character. If I was a fan of The Punisher (and I'm not) I would like to see my favorite hero on the big screen without knowing that he was neutered so that that the studio could squeeze another few bucks out of me with a DVD double dip.
More news as we get it on this one.
Some version of The Punisher War Zone will be released on December 5, 2008
Source: Latino Review