A blithely depraved shoot-'em-up in which its glum protagonist cuts a retributive swath across a vast criminal underworld, Punisher: War Zone echoes back to the unthinking low-budget action movies of the 1980s.
Earning an 18 certificate with its violence, the film is kids' stuff in all other respects: over-the-top shootouts, monstrous and barking-mad villains, a bumbling sidekick and so on. Highly enjoyable tosh.
'Oh God, now I've got brains spattered all over me,' exclaims The Punisher's slippery inside man, Detective Soap. You may feel the same at the end of this messy, sadistic reboot of the Marvel comic-book series.
Castle/the Punisher is not the most charismatic comic book hero at the best of times but Stevenson's jowly pallor and oil slick of hair makes him look more like an Eastern European abattoir worker than a vigilante to be reckoned with.