Will Zechs be punished by Punisher: War Zone (2008)?
This review is a modified one of a previous post that was put on the forums awhile back. Some new stuff is to be found here.
I'm a lover of movies, in fact, I love all kinds of movies. Of them all, action movies especially. However, I also do enjoy sci-fi, drama, comedy, and horror. Romance? Eh, if the babe is hot and there are tits to go along with the show it might be deemed possibly watchable for me. Though even then, that so did not help me when I watched The English Patient (1996). Otherwise, I rather watch Batman & Robin (1997) for 24 hours straight than see a cheesy romance flick. Still, I cannot see every movie known to man when they come out, or only hear good stuff about them. Therefore, I'll put my behind down and review the flick. Enter this column, where I finally state was the movie truly worth the price of viewing or not.
Ah Punisher: War Zone (2008), a movie I almost saw in theaters, but by the time I had money was already out of them. This is the third movie that’s tried their luck at the Punisher character. I could talk about the two previous films but that be an article onto itself. So I'll just say that the one involving Dolph was amusing brain-dead fun, and the Thomas Jane should have really called itself the Mental Punisher, given all he did in that movie for the most part was punishing bad guys with mind games. Enter War Zone, which looked the closest of the three in adapting the character and the Garth Ennis run on the series. Therefore, it earned a top spot as #2 on my movie watch list (with Taken being my #1). Well after I scratched Taken off my list, it became my new #1. Well, it didn't last as long for me to see it than Taken, but I've seen it. What can I say about it?
I loved it. Every blood spattered body blown to bit part of it. There where glaring flaws yes, but honestly the good outweighs the bad. Though the bad really is quite bad. The mom of Microchip was utterly pointless, and anyone could see coming a mile away what was going to happen to her and was utterly pointless, save for we probably should have seen her death. The recruitment speech Jigsaw gives to all the gangs to be in his army was a bit over the top. Then there's the undercover FBI agent's wife and kid which you knew Frank would sympathize as his own dead family. Thankfully, they didn't pull the stupid Frank falling for the wife plot or else this would have seriously dragged this movie down.
As I expected with no doubt Ray Stevenson OWNED as Frank Castle. This isn’t exactly brain science. Titus Pullo is the same frigging role cept that was a medieval Frank. God I could watch Stevenson do this in a show or movie and it never get boring. The dude just gets Castle perfectly, compared to the previous two Punishers. Stevenson is the Max Punisher perfectly brought to life. Nobody whose a scumbag is utterly safe from his wrath. You sin? Well, its been nice knowing you. This Frank will kill you even if there's cops around.
The gun fights where amusing and entertaining. I loved the little smash the door and pop the grenade trick. As for the other players in this movie. Colin Salmon didn't die for once. Yeah for that! The cop on the Punisher Task Force also was very amusing. I really wish that dude had some more scenes; almost every one of them was goddamn hilarious.
So what about the gore? Well the deaths of some of the goons throughout the movie where hell bunch of fun. In addition, the ending just ruled. Some of them I know where ripped right out of Ennis's series and others well just fit in nicely as well. I just wish the director played up the glowing skull imagery more than just that finale. Though it's a minor complaint, still he does better than other Punisher films, spending most of the movie with it on him and has a better excuse with it being body armor and a symbol of run the hell away than a shirt his kid won.
Then there's Jigsaw himself. He's not really anything like the comic book version save for he has a deep grudge for Frank Castle. He even doesn't share the most of the traits of his comic book counterpart, instead more from another equally amusing Punisher foe, Nicky Cavella, from Ennis’s run. Honestly, Jigsaw never once frightened me as someone who was on par to Frank's level. Looney Jim yes, but not Jiggys. The lackeys where better than Jigsaw. Ink, Pittsy, and Looney Jim just stole the show for me. They where all humorous. Jigsaw was hit or miss for me. I kinda see why Jigsaw sucks as a villain with what the current writer Frank's core Marvel book said on the character. Cause in the end, he doesn't really bring that kinda threat level the Russian (who was poorly used save for the brutally entertaining fight in the previous film) or Barracuda ever brings. He's just the dude who survived and alas for this poor dude once Frank gets his claws into him it's game over. Sure he gets some amusing scenes with his brother, but really not once could I see this dude as someone whose totally on Frank's level, instead I just felt this dude was blowing what he had and is now shaving down on how long his life could have been.
Looney Bin Jin on the other hand, was created what Jigsaw lacked. Played perfectly maniacally by Doug Hutchison (best known to sci-fi fans as the uber creepy Eugene Toomes aka stretchy monster dude from the X-Files who appeared in two episodes). About every scene this character is in was just so insanely over the top it was great. For almost a split second, I thought this dude could handle Frank, but then remembered well this is the frigging Punisher. The only negative I have is he was wasted too quickly. My only regret of this character was is Looney Bin Jim should have got Jigsaw's end. I be more cheerful for it. . Looney Bin Jim deserved a far better exit than what he got in this movie. An arm or some frigging limb removal would have been nice during their fight than a simple bam that's it for him. Regardless, what an exit they give to his brother. It was so fitting an end even if the character deserved less and Jim deserved more.
Still this was a good movie. If I ever get money or see this on sale for five dollars so getting this. There are glaring flaws yes, but the good truly do outweigh them. You have probably the best actor playing the Punisher and you also have a director who gets the universe Castle plays in. This isn't frigging Florida or some cheesy New York stand-in. The universe that is Frank's playground here is ripped straight from the Max series. Even more the minds behind this didn't need another friggin origin story. They kept things simple and played with what needed to be told and that's that. Now if there's ever another film I can only hope Stevenson returns and it's more bloody brilliant than this splatterfest.
3.8 out of 5