Punisher: War Zone (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ray Stevenson in Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Back For More

Having turned vigilante Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) has brought down many criminals under the guise of the Punisher and is now after a mob family. He succeeds except one of the enforcers Billy "The Beaut" Russoti (Dominic West - 300) gets away. Castle tracks him down to a factory where he pursues him till he falls into a glass crushing machine, believing that will kill him. But Russoti survives, horribly disfigured by the breaking glass even after plastic surgery and decides to take the name of "Jigsaw". Having learned that one of the men he killed was an undercover FBI agent Frank decides to call it a day until he discovers that Russoti is still alive and is not only after him but also the money which he had unwittingly left in the undercover Feds' hands, which means his family is in danger.

For those who are bigger comic book fans than me what I say next might seem like common sense but "Punisher: War Zone" plays like a Batman movie, except one which is 100 times more violent. We have Castle are vigilante, we have Jigsaw are disfigured criminal wanting revenge and then lots of action and lots of bad guys as well as the cops sniffing around. There is also an element of guilt thrown in as Castle feels responsible for the predicament that an innocent family is in because he killed an undercover FBI agent. But everything about it is text book comic book and entertaining for being such, keeping it simple, keeping it action paced and fast paced whilst leaving anything close to pretentiousness in the writer's room.

Dominic West in Punisher: War Zone (2008)

But "Punisher: War Zone", the third "Punisher" movie so far is ultra violent and holds nothing back when delivering in your face action and violence. The opening series of scenes see a chair leg thrust through a bad guys eyes, another getting his head chopped off as well as the scene seeing Russoti spun around in a glass cutting machine, expletives flying from his mouth as Castle stands watching. But whilst heavy on gore it never seems to lust it, never being salacious in detailing the gore just preferring to take the violence to an extreme visual level befitting the 18 certificate it got.

Now what is surprising is that in this third "Punisher" movie we have a third actor take on the role of Frank Castle and whilst Ray Stevenson is not unknown he certainly isn't your big star name. But it works because Stevenson brings no baggage with him and brings his own angry interpretation of Frank Castle. It is the same with the rest of the cast as the likes of Dominic West, Julie Benz and Colin Salmon are all well known names but not necessarily a big name yet it works in the movies favour.

What this all boils down to is that "Punisher: War Zone" is simply an action packed vigilante movie which trades heavily on graphic violence. The level of violence won't suit everyone but the simplicity of it all makes it a pleasure when so many comic book movies try to deliver a depth which clouds the entertainment.


LATEST REVIEWS