Punisher: War Zone

2008

Punisher: War Zone

Critics Consensus

Punisher: War Zone recalls the excessively violent, dialogue-challenged actioners of the 1980s, and coincidentally feels two decades out of date.

29%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 108

42%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 132,264
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Movie Info

Marvel Comics' vigilante character The Punisher gets another big-screen outing in this third film incarnation of the character, this time from Green Street Hooligans director Lexi Alexander. Fueled by revenge and aided by his trusted weapons expert, Microchip (Wayne Knight), vigilante Frank Castle (Rome's Ray Stevenson) turns the New York City streets red with blood as he takes down each and every member of the crime syndicate responsible for the death of his wife and two kids. As the law-appointed "Punisher Task Force" closes in on him, the antihero does battle with Billy Russoti (Dominic West), aka Jigsaw, a nickname given by him to reflect the disfigurement handed to him by Castle. With the help of his psychotic brother, Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchison), Jigsaw recruits the criminals of the city to band together to bring down The Punisher, using the wife (played by Dexter's Julie Benz) and daughter of a slayed FBI agent as bait. Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Nick Santora provide the screenplay for the Lionsgate release. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

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Cast

Ray Stevenson
as Frank Castle/The Punisher
Dominic West
as Bill Russoti/Jigsaw
Dash Mihok
as Det. Martin Soap
Julie Benz
as Angela Donatelli
Wayne Knight
as Microchip
Colin Salmon
as Paul Budiansky
Doug Hutchison
as Loony Bin Jim
TJ Storm
as Maginty
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Critic Reviews for Punisher: War Zone

All Critics (108) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (77)

  • You couldn't call it shoddy, exactly, and the actors take it painfully seriously; it's just dispiriting to see all this endeavour in the service of something so humourless and disgusting.

    Feb 6, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • '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.

    Feb 5, 2009 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Feb 5, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • This was a terrible movie.

    Dec 8, 2008
  • Hopefully it's three strikes and you're out for The Punisher, as this latest attempt at creating another comic book franchise will prove once and for all that maybe this character just doesn't deserve the big screen treatment.

    Dec 8, 2008 | Full Review…
  • At one point, the Punisher is asked who punishes him. The better question for those who made this inane bloodfest is: Why punish us?

    Dec 5, 2008 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

    Claudia Puig

    USA Today
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Punisher: War Zone

  • Jul 27, 2017
    So just 4 years after the first Punisher we get a reboot of sorts, And it's pretty much a big let down, The acting and dialogue were poor, I didn't like the choice of actor to play Frank Castle, For some reason they had stupid neon lights in every shot that didn't add anything great it just felt like my TV was breaking, It did have some bloody and hard hitting action scenes but the effects let them down at times, It's not as good as the first/original and it's very forgettable I'd only watch if you're a fan of the comics as you might appreciate it more than others.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2015
    The Punisher has had a lot of major misfires with previous big screen efforts to do justice to the franchise. This time they finally got it right; if only just. This is a very sinister and violent fare, but one that is surprisingly funny and appropriately over-the-top. If you really are a fan of the Punisher comics, then you're in for a treat. Everyone else will probably struggle with this one, particularly if you have more delicate sensibilities. Ray Stevenson IS The Punisher!!
    Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2013
    Honestly, most people I've talked to about this film, and almost all of the reviews I've read, have ground this film into the dirt, but know what? I love it, so there. It's the only Marvel film to date to ever have been directed by a woman (Lexi Alexander, who created and co-wrote Green Street Hooligans), the Punisher film closest to its source material, colour coordination/representation on par with films like Revolver, and the star is not only one of my favourite actors of all time, but he went through months of military training, body-building and theoretical practice before playing Frank Castle in a film where the trigger-happy hero actually reloads! I'll get the things I didn't like done first. Julie Benz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Rambo, Saw V, Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day, Dexter) I usually quite enjoy, and here she even ditched the blonde hair in favour of the much more attractive black, but she was not really a great addition to the cast. Mostly a writing fault I'm sure, but it just seemed to be a bad character for her, very similar to her role as Sarah Miller in the most recent Rambo flick. There was also some cheese in the film, it's not terribly overburened with it, and it's not something I usually mind, but when you go out of your way to make a film dark, you can't risk lines like "Billy is dead, from now on you call me Jigsaw" or "I axed you a Question. If you don't answer me, I guess I'll just have to axe you again". Other than that I can understand why certain people still wouldn't enjoy the film, but hey, fuck those people. Back on to the positive; Dominic West (Hannibal Rising, 300, Centurion, Chicago, The Wire) makes a more convincing gangster than John Travolta ever did, and just like Ray Stevenson (King Arthur, Outpost, The Book of Eli, Rome, Thor) he portrayed a larger than life character, in a physically feasible manner; Jigsaw (above). Yes, the bad guy is named Jigsaw and he wants to play a game. Seriously. So maybe that's not much of a positive but this film does play out in a much more of a Horror-type-genre way than a regular old Action film. But he's not a John John Cramer character at all, he's a hitman and gangboss working with one of the last crime-families in town, famous for his vanity, until his entire body is ripped up in a glass crusher by The Punisher, and he has to be repaired, mostly with horse-hide. Which is kind of a bad ass revenge scenario for the antagonist to have. More than anything though, at the end of the day I'm a Stevenson fanboy. He's a vastly talented and very attractive man who delivers in each and every single role he's portrayed, always coming out as memorable. So if you don't have a fucking clue who the guy is, you mightn't love the whole thing as much as I do, although you should certainly appreciate all the effort they've gone to for military authenticity. I mean, The Punisher's arms dealer is a supporting charter for Christ's sake. He needs to go back home to restock on weapons, if that doesn't scream realism I don't know what does. 78% -Gimly
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2011
    Punisher: War Zone is an exploitation film full of gratuitous violence that never lets up. And, this wouldn't be a bad thing if it weren't so poorly executed. However, this reboot fails on every level to develop interesting characters, an engaging plot, and exciting action. A complete misfire, the gratuity of Punisher: War Zone overwhelms the audience to such a degree that it quickly causes one to lose interest.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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