Marvel Movie Madness! Part 18: Punisher: War Zone

Summary

Alex: Another stab at a Punisher movie, another failure. Ray Stevenson mostly looks grumpy, not quite insane enough. The rest of the cast seemed to have been given no direction to rein in their characters, especially Dominic West as villain Jigsaw and Julie Benz as the widow of an undercover FBI agent slain by the Punisher. The basic plot revolves around the Punisher somehow discovering that, among the hundreds of thugs he guns down, one happened to be an FBI agent. Suddenly, he has a conscience. Why does he even care? Back to Article

Comments

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philipiah

never seen it, never will.

Jun 17 - 04:38 PM

Lenny M.

Lenny Monroe

I agree completely, I hate The Punisher movies, but War Zone did keep me a lil more intrigued than the '04 film.

Jun 17 - 04:38 PM

PunisherFTW

john lauterio

I am a huge huge huge Punisher fan. He is a great comic book character, but not a great Hollywood leading man. Unlike Batman or Wolverine, the Punisher has absolutely no redeeming qualities, none. He is murderous, insane, brutal, and has no interest in having any meaningful social relationships. Even the Terminator made nice with somebody! And that is the problem, we as movie watchers have no empathy for Punisher. Sure, we feel for Frank Castle's lost family and all but, this isn't a Frank Castle movie, it's the Punisher. He is a villain, plain and simple.

Therefore, I truly believe there are only two ways to bring the Punisher to life successfully. One would be a dark serial series on HBO or Showtime adapting Garth Ennis's run on Punisher MAX. The stories are short, self-contained, (not too mention fantastic) and have many many rich supporting characters to keep the viewer interested and coming back week after week.

And second, if there absolutely has to be a big screen adaptation, would be a Se7en style dark cop movie with very strong leading characters and the Punisher as a mythic and dark force of nature that stays in the shadows. He appears very little in the movie, has almost no lines, and the audience is never really sure who, or what he really his. However, when he does make his appearance (most likely in the film's climax) it is freaken EPIC!! He should be so violent and brutal that the audience fears him, not adulates him. There is a reason other Marvel heroes do not play nice with Frank (I'm looking at you Daredevil!). Check out his appearance in Civil War to get a good idea of what I'm talking about. When he show's up, you can hear Spider-Man poop himself.

As a Punisher fan, I really hope to one day see a really great Punisher live action adaption. Unfortunately, I really don't see it happening.

Jun 17 - 04:57 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I think if these reviews of the Punisher movies show anything it's that the reviewers have no understanding of the character. The Punisher doesn't kill good cops and goes to extreme lengths to avoid collateral damage. That's why in the comics despite the fact that Captain America hates what he does and stands for Frank refuses to fight him. I liked the comparison in Civil War that someone made. If Cap is the reflection of everything good about the Greatest Generation then Frank is a reflection of the confusion and ugliness of Vietnam. If Frank was just the homicidal maniac the reviewers seem to want him to be he wouldn't have survived as a popular character as long as he has. The Punisher speaks to that fantasy part of us that wants to believe there is punishment and not reward for evil acts. That it's possible that someday people who do wrong are going to have those wrongs returned to them and not pass along in comfort rich off ill gotten gains with no repercussions. Is that realistic, of course not. That's why people read fiction.

Jun 17 - 05:22 PM

Tridus

Chris Eaton

That's the whole problem though. If you have to have a prior understanding of the comic books to understand or enjoy the movie, then it fails as a movie. They aren't making this just for comic book fans.

All I know about this character from the movie is that his family was killed and he's a psychopathic criminal killer with the personality of a stone. He's not that interesting because there's no morals, no judgements, and really no plot that matters. He finds criminals, he kills them. What they're doing doesn't matter.

I agree with some other comments that this character would fare a lot better as a character in a Batman movie, but as a lead or hero he's just bad. This is not a hero, and not a particularly interesting anti-hero because he's got no humanity whatsoever (unlike Batman).

Jun 18 - 03:32 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I'm not disagreeing with their assertions that the movie's are crap. I'm disagreeing with the assertion that the movie's are crap because of some inherent flaw in the character.

Jun 21 - 06:08 AM

Ramrod

Mark Kauffman

I like this one the most! Probably cause it is closest to the comics (max). But I wish they took elements from 04, the Russian mostly and blended it together. Dominc west seems like a good actor but they made him do the horrible typical mob stereotype! His brother was a nice refreshing addition to the film! However u can hate on a movie where a guy gets his face punched into the wall and the other blown off!! I don't get how 2004 punisher is so dark and sadistic, this one is a lot worse IMO. It's just well funny! I really hope they keep ray Stevenson! Do a tv series or direct to cable flick! There is so much they could with this character!! Remember the punisher has compassion just not for the sick! Hell he was almost a priest!!

Jun 17 - 05:25 PM

Ramrod

Mark Kauffman

Ps I meant how can u not like a flick where a guy gets his face punched in! Also rumors I have hear around the net and hardcore fans have heard that jigsaw was marvels knock of the joker. I don't buy it but who knows. IMO bring on The Kingpin!!!

Jun 17 - 05:31 PM

Sabius

Christopher Shine

Agreed about the video game end battle. Amazing how they all showed up in large groups (in apparently empty Manhattan...uhh I mean Toronto? What city was this actually?) and line up in rooms just waiting to be shot. I am consistently shocked at how off these RT marvel "reviews" are. Warzone was laughably bad and all over the place, a far, far cry from the 2004 movie and not even remotely close to any of the comics...and the Thomas Jane movie somehow morally problematic because they wanted to give it some heart? This movie was morally bankrupt as if written by an angry teenager. The 2004 film was based on "Welcome back Frank" and in one of those stories Frank kills a group of vigilantes for accidentally causing collateral damage. In the video game (2005) he outright refuses to kill innocents if you point a gun at one. That's why he cares. Ok, can we have some critics that read The Punisher at some point? Or likes comic book movies?

Jun 17 - 05:47 PM

gridlock'd2

First Last

I thought it was much truer to the comics than the Thomas Jane movie. Since when is the Punisher an uncover cop who lives in Floria? (He seemed ridiculous wearing all black with a leather jacket in a hot climate) And since when was Frank Castle ressurrected by a voodoo priest? And who the hell is Howard Saint? And why is he planting fire hydrants instead of shooting people?

I'm not saying War Zone is a good movie. It's not. But it is closer to the comics. At least the ones I read.

Jun 18 - 11:34 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

I never said this movie was tolerable. I said it sucked, but still better than the other 2.

Jun 17 - 06:23 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Exactly, the recruitment of the gang by Jigsaw and LBJ where they montage walk down the street like a retarded version of Saturday Night Fever was the most painfully inept scene with painfully mishandled characters in a horribly subpar movie. Stevenson deserved better than this. They should have gotten the writers and director from Rome to take a crack at this. While they were at it get Vorenus to play Jigsaw and this movie might have had a chance.

Jun 17 - 06:50 PM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

I didn't care for this movie. It wasn't all that great, but it wasn't all that bad either.

Jun 17 - 08:36 PM

Legion

Travon Smith

At least the second one tried to establish a basis for The Punisher's psychotic breakdown, but they ruined what could have been a good progression into sociopathic darkness with supporting characters which the Punisher cared for.

Jun 18 - 01:33 AM

GrandSmasher

joseph o'leary

The Coen Brothers are the only film-makers that could make a truly great Punisher movie, this is my dream!

Jun 18 - 02:57 AM

Kwah

Juan Juan

WAR ZONE already serves as a truly great Punisher movie!

Jun 18 - 06:30 AM

Tridus

Chris Eaton

That's the whole problem though. If you have to have a prior understanding of the comic books to understand or enjoy the movie, then it fails as a movie. They aren't making this just for comic book fans.

All I know about this character from the movie is that his family was killed and he's a psychopathic criminal killer with the personality of a stone. He's not that interesting because there's no morals, no judgements, and really no plot that matters. He finds criminals, he kills them. What they're doing doesn't matter.

I agree with some other comments that this character would fare a lot better as a character in a Batman movie, but as a lead or hero he's just bad. This is not a hero, and not a particularly interesting anti-hero because he's got no humanity whatsoever (unlike Batman).

Jun 18 - 03:32 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I'm not disagreeing with their assertions that the movie's are crap. I'm disagreeing with the assertion that the movie's are crap because of some inherent flaw in the character.

Jun 21 - 06:08 AM

Kwah

Juan Juan

I love PUNISHER: WAR ZONE unreservedly. The nerds on this comment thread are incapable of understanding great entertainment.

Parkour dude gets blowed up real good by a sidewinder! It's glourious.

Jun 18 - 06:15 AM

bijio

biji badness

uh, don't you think its a little rich to bash the "nerds on this comment thread"...IN the comment thread?? i mean, not to say you're being a tool or anything, but...well, i can't finish that sentence.

Jul 6 - 06:38 AM

Kwah

Juan Juan

If it's "unwatchable," how come I've watched it 10x already?

Jun 18 - 06:29 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

You have bad taste and too much free time?

Jun 20 - 12:34 PM

Kwah

Juan Juan

Erroneous. Erroneous on both counts.

Jun 20 - 03:11 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

lol. A-fuckin-greed.

Jun 21 - 01:22 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

It's the only reason I can think of. If you love this movie that much I fear for your sanity cause it's just horrible on every level.

Jun 21 - 06:06 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Just because you can say "erroneous", doesn't change the fact that you clearly have horrendously bad taste if you can for a moment defend that damn scene. Jesus. It was worse than Parker-Man's Travolta moment. And that is a flavor of worse that I never thought I'd see.

Jun 22 - 02:18 AM

Kwah

Juan Juan

WAR ZONE already serves as a truly great Punisher movie!

Jun 18 - 06:30 AM

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