Returning to the big screen after a four year hiatus, Frank Castle aka The Punisher is back to dish out more vigilante justice. Punisher: War Zone is anything but a sequel to 2004′s The Punisher. Director Lexi Alexander’s take on Castle is much closer to the Marvel comic, and seems to be geared more towards its core audience. By cutting down on dialogue and amping up the action, as compared to its predecessor, Punisher:War Zone is definitely a different kind of monster.
In this installment, Irish actor Ray Stevenson takes on the role of Frank Castle, whom was previously portrayed by Thomas Jane. His version of the character is a lot less talkative and a lot more aggressive. Within the first ten minutes of the film you already know what type of movie this is going to be. As I stated earlier, I don’t see this film as a sequel. Everything in the plot is self-explanatory. You don’t need a refresher course on the first Punisher to understand whats going on. Your immediately introduced to the films villain, Billy Russoti also known as Jigsaw. Portrayed by British actor Dominic West, he’s a stereotypical mobster, who is the walking incarnation of narcissism. When he first encounters Frank Castle, his life is changed forever, and not in a good way.
The pros of the film are few and far between, but they do exist. If your even interested in seeing this movie, I assume you’re either a fan of the comic, or you like to see things and people get blown up. With this movie you”ll get all that and more. There’s more than enough blood, gore, and graphic violence to keep you entertained. I flinched more than once while in the theater, and I’ve seen it all. These aren’t just random killings he’s handing out, these are full on executions. You know the unspoken rule of sparing women and children? It doesn’t apply here. The ladies get it too, and it is not a pretty sight.
In between the sequences of exploding faces and random gun play, there are some vague attempts at dialogue. I’ve seen both Dominic West and Julie Benz (Angela Donatelli) pull off some good acting in their day, but I was really disappointed with them in this movie. Yes, I know this isn’t Shakespeare, but the overall acting was beyond lackluster. The film took place in New York, and everyone thought it was necessary to have these overly exaggerated pseudo Italian, New Yorker accents. They were so prominent, and over the top that they distracted you from everything else going on in the scenes. The few scenes that were supposed to be serious came off as funny, and caused for awkward moments that didn’t fit. Bad accents paired with bad dialogue is always a recipe for disaster.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the comic your going to like this movie. It concentrates more on Frank Castle the vigilante, and leaves the broken man that once was in the past. If you’re not familiar with the comic, but are in the mood for an action flick you”ll enjoy this movie as well. Just be warned, the graphic nature of the action scenes are not for everybody. If you can’t take the violence, don’t bother buying a ticket. If you even think this is going to be on the same level as The Dark Knight, don’t even leave the house. The Punisher isn’t about catching criminals, and turning them over to the authorities. He’s doesn’t represent justice, he represents punishment. If he catches you, you don’t get your day in court. You don’t get another day at all.
Punisher: War Zone is rated R, and is currently playing in theaters everywhere.