Punisher: War Zone

Directed by Lexi Alexander
Written by Nick Santora, Lexi Alexander, Matt Holloway, Arthur Marcum
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, Wayne Knight, Stephanie Janusauskas, Dash Mihok, Colin Salmon, Doug Hutchison
Release year: 2008
IMDB rating: 6.3

Frank Castle is back, and this time he must deal with Billy Russoti who later transformed into Jigsaw. Along with his brother Loony Bin Jim and his two henchmen Ink and Pittsy, Jigsaw seeks revenge on Punisher for disfiguring his face. Later on, Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim recruited gangsters from all over the city to fight the Punisher while also taking hostage of Microchip and Angela Donatelli and her daughter – the wife and daughter of an FBI agent mista
kenly killed by Frank Castle during the attack on the mob boss Gaitano Cesare’s mansion.

Except from the despair shown at the cemetary, not much emotion is shown at the face of Frank Castle, which is played by Ray Stevenson. Throughout most of the movie, only cold stare could be seen from his eyes, ma
king him a lot tougher Punisher than Thomas Jane. Unfortunately, as the plot demands lots of action scenes, dialogues are limited. Unfortunately, so did the quality of the acting. A starking example is when Angela Donatelli met Frank Castle in her home. I just couldn’t see real anger in Julie Benz’s expression nor tone of voice. As for the performances from the villains, well, I guess they’re pretty much standard. Seen better ones in the Dark Knight.

The plot of Punisher: War Zone is very, very simple. So simple that if the action sequences were zipped, maybe there’s only 45 minutes left in the film. The only thing bugging me with the story is why after rampaging for years Frank Castle would feel remorse after mistakenly killed an undercover FBI agent. I doubt that the real Punisher would feel that low. At least, watch the massacre at the beginning of the movie and you will know what I mean.

While the pictures were quite nice, there’s a big question regarding the movie: do all those violence necessary? I mean, I don’t even consider them violence anymore, but rather sheer brutality. Blown heads, chopped neck, someone blow to bits by a grenade launcher, and other graphically violent scenes. These scenes dominated the movie, mostly at the beginning and near the end of the movie. Of course, action-packed movie lovers would be feeling ecstatic, but I believe it went too far with it.

If only the violent scenes were toned down a bit, and more dialogues and quality performance from the cast were there, this could have been a lot more enjoyable movie. For sure, this flick is not for kids. The blood and gore are too much to handle for kids. My final rating is 4.0. There are just two positive things in the movie: the casting of Ray Stevenson and most of the pictures are great. But then again, no story, no glory.
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