Archived: Review: Punisher – War Zone (2008) - archived

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You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of this sequel. You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know it indeed was a sequel, in many ways its not. It’s a reboot, but you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know there was an original Punisher movie that was worth rebooting. The original movie staring Tom Jane and John Travolta underperformed in a market that is brimming with super hero flicks and it seems Punisher War Zone has done exactly the same.

The Punisher, Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson), is a vigilante out for revenge for the death of his family by a mafia gang. The police are afraid of him and some go so far as to help him, believing him to be all that’s left of justice in the city. During the slaughter of most of the mafia families and disfiguring Billy “The Beaut” (Dominic West) so badly in the process, The Punisher also kills an undercover FBI agent and feels the remorse. Such is his guilt he plans on retiring but his best friend and confident “Micro” (Wayne Knight) convinces him to do this one last job. There is a nuclear weapon in the city in a deal between Billy, now Jigsaw after his face has been patched up to look like one, and some Russian mobs.

The acting is incredible, I’ve never seen something this terrible before. The thick accents are way over the top, especially that from the free-running rasta-Irishman. Somehow though, it seems to work, going from so bad it’s actually pretty good. The movie as a whole doesn’t take itself seriously and actually is a fitting B-Movie title.

The opening massacre of the mafia families really sets the tone for the film with over the top graphic violence which has you laughing and cringing at the same time. However after setting the standard so high so early the film suffers with a slow pace from the dialogue the rest of the way. Which is a shame, for how ridiculous the violence is, it’s by far the best thing about the movie.

I so really wanted to like this film, I enjoy the Punisher as a character but it seems it just doesn’t want to translate well onto the big screen. The violence is almost like something from “Shoot ‘Em Up” and it works, it’s gory, its over the top, its back wrenching stuff but it can’t carry the film alone.

Easy to watch, fun in parts but I can’t honestly call it a good film. Who punishes The Punisher? Himself it would seem.

Archived: Review: Punisher – War Zone (2008) - archived
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