Movies / Comics Movie Reviews

Punisher: War Zone


By Hervé St-Louis
December 7, 2008 - 11:04

The Punisher, Frank Castle, mistakenly kills an FBI undercover agent during a raid against a mob family. Shaken because he hurt one the good guys and created an orphan and a widow, out of the officer’s family, the Punisher is considering retiring and leaving New York City and his war on crime. But Jigsaw, the mob boss disfigured by Castle has other plans. He wants to destroy the Punisher and make New York City safe for villains again. Will he succeed?

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I didn’t expect to enjoy this film, but I did. If expectations are so low and you accept that this is nothing but a shoot ‘em up slugfest, it will all go well. Surprisingly, the plot was solid with very good supporting actors and with realistic motivations. If you haven’t seen the 2004 Punisher movie, or the one from 1989, you will not feel out of place. This version which not exactly a sequel, uses some footage from the first actor who played the Punisher in 2004, Thomas Jane, but it features new actor Ray Stevenson. I haven’t seen the first Punisher films, so I can’t say which one was the best actor. But Stevenson, as a stoic and not talkative crazy vigilante with some remorse was good enough for the role.

The movie is partly funny, dark humour funny. It also has its share of gore and blood. It seems like anything produced by Lionsgate must have bloody scenes, decapitations, and other gory executions. If you’re a fan of these types of films, well, The Punisher War Zone will provide an instant fix. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously which is good. The Punisher is not an easy character to develop, even in the comic books.

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About comic books, there is no real attempt to connect to anything from the comic book, besides Jigsaw and the religious overtones of Frank Castle’s confession. That part reminded me a bit too much of the Daredevil film.

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The cinematography was good and the action clear. Even if everything was shot in dark scenes, it was easy to understand what was going on. What I found the most fun was identifying all the Montreal locales and actors in the film. The Royal Victoria Hospital was even transformed as an asylum! I have two complaints about the film. First, why did the FBI betray the Punisher and gave Jigsaw the name of a know ally? My second complaint has to do with the Punisher’s logo which wasn’t very visible on his suit. It looked very washed up.

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Rating: 8 /10


Last Updated: July 2, 2020 - 11:49

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