For some reason, I didnít hate the previous attempt to bring Marvelís pissed off vigilante, THE PUNISHER, to the big screen. But really, it was pretty bad, and very unfaithful to the comic book. We wonít even get into the even earlier attempt, starring Dolph Lungren and a five oíclock shadow seemingly applied with make up.
So now thereís Punisher: War Zone, starring Irish born Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle, The Punisher. Directed by Lexi Alexander, I had great hopes for this re-reimagining/ re-reboot when it first started coming togetherÖ
But then you start hearing things and reading things and all of a sudden, you think this will suck. Well, depends on how you look at it.
As a stand-alone movie, Punisher: War Zone is almost laughable at times. Itís SO over the top it makes KILL BILL look like an exercise in subtlety. The audience was laughing at the absurdity of some of the kills, which made it watchable for me, because Iím not into violent movies. If itís gonna be violent, the more over the top the better. Mz Alexander didnít disappoint in that aspect. But yeah, to the uninitiated, this feels like a bad B movie.
However, if you know this is a comic book, especially if youíve read the darker, edgier more adult comics from Marvelís MAX line, you will probably appreciate the movie quite a bit. Worked for me. By the time it was over I was really into it.
Stevenson is pretty much perfect as the titular character, because Frank Castle shouldnít have an ounce of humor to him, and though he is very human, it should take a lot for him to show it. Dominic West is really over the top as a violent mobster that becomes Jigsaw, a villain out of the comics. West is a good actor, but he really was way over the top; Even cartoonish. I was surprised, but once I got used to it, I was OK with it.
The great Wayne Knight is good as another comic book character, Microchip, but he was rather under used. Colin Salmon, a great British actor, shows up as an FBI agent, and he was good here, but it was one of the few times Iíve seen a Brit not perfectly pull off an American accent. Unless he wasnít supposed to be American. Not sure. Iíll shut up now. Julie Benz is really good as pissed off widow. The writing in this movie is not the best, but she does great with what sheís given.
So, will this be the next big Marvel hit? I donít think so. Way too violent and rough. But for fans of the comic books, I think itíll be well received.
I do wish they would have made the iconic skull image stand out more. The movieís in no way set in ďthe real worldĒ, so they might as well have used a brighter skull. At least then comic fans would be instantly happy!