Genres: Action, Crime,
Drama, Thriller

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 2008

Runtime: 103 minutes

Studio: Lions Gate Films

Review done by: Serial McKiller
Online since: February 20th, 2006
Hosted by:  Yahoo!
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Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchison, Colin Salmon,
Wayne Knight, Dash Mihok, Julie Benz

Director: Lexi Alexander

Synopsis: After hunting down and killing hundreds of violent criminals, Frank
Castle, aka The Punisher, faces his most deadly foe yet: Jigsaw.


It's been a long time since I've seen a real fun-for-fun action film. Something
that requires almost zero brain power to watch, that's ascetically pleasing
and delivers the kind of kicks you'd want for the cost of admission. "Quantum
of Solace" is one thing, but I'm talking more in the vein of the glory days of
Jerry Bruckheimer or Joel Silver or Paul Verhoeven. The trail-blazzin' 80's and
90's full of big bangs, booms and awesome amounts ridiculousness. "Max
Payne" failed to deliver the goods as promised. And sadly enough Luc
Besson's third installment of the usually quite ridiculously entertaining
"Transporter" films was boring as sin. So is it possible that Lionsgate films
and Marvel, relaunching "The Punisher" franchise with their third actor as
Frank Castle, could be the one to change that? Shock of all shocks that's a
big yes.

"Punisher: War Zone", a film quietly said to have had dozens of problems
during it's entire creation is actually an extremely violent, absurd, well crafted
piece of hardcore action that makes you forget about the dent that ticket put
into your wallet. And the biggest piece of pleasing information is that for as
much as I love Thomas Jane, he was not in anyway missed. No I think it's
begun...the Ray-volution. I do believe that it's possible for Ray Stevenson,
who's credit's as primarily from television including his biggest success,
HBO's "Rome", is the next down right, top notch bad ass. And it's because
HE IS BADASS! And you know what this film also reminded me of why I liked
Dominic West of '300' and 'The Wire'. He's the perfect over the top mobster
villain who's transformed into the villain Jigsaw after a dip in a glass recycling

And who said action is just for guys? Director Lexi Alexander does a damn
good job of making everything work. The lightening and shots are comic
book designed greatness and the action is some of the best and most
entertaining in it's extreme brutality that I've seen all year. So she can add
"above average action" director to her list of achievments along side
champion kickboxer and Oscar nominee. Is "Punisher: War Zone" a sequel?
I'm not 100% sure. I suppose it's as much a sequel/remake as "The
Incredible Hulk" was to "Hulk" of 2003. Here Frank aka the Punisher has made
his way to New York and for a few years now, he's been picking off crime
families. We first meet him crashing a dinner party for one of the oldest living
mobster heads in the city...and let's just say that his 'crashing' of a party is
something that could be taking literally.

It's a big, bloody spree. Later he's tracking down that head's newphew
played by Dominic West and Castle accidentally kills a federal agent
undercover. Which leads him down the old road of self-pity, mixed with him
taking down some street punks from time to time. Wayne Knight of
"Seinfeld", "Jurassic Park" and "JFK" also shines in an awesome return to the
screen as Micro, one of Frank's few friends who supplies Frank with the tools
he needs to do his job. It's a small, but very strong role. As was Julie Benz's
character who's been in three Lionsgate movies this year with this, "Rambo"
and "Saw V". But really Stevenson and West are an awesome match for bad
ass fun.

And believe me fun can and will be had with "Punisher: War Zone". It's the
sort of fun you have watching "Bad Boys II" or "Robocop" or "Starship
Troopers". That sort of on the edge action that doesn't quit. Now does this
mean more "Punisher" films? God I hope so! This could be a nice little cash
cow for Marvel and Lionsgate and it could also help restart the dying
big-gun-fun action genre. But time will tell. So go please enjoy blood, bullets
and bad-assary for 107 minutes in a theater near you. It's a light plot filled
with surprisingly good performances, a damn good look and feel and some
action that'll get you remembering how fun shit like this can really be.

Overall: 8/10