Movie of the Day – Punisher: War Zone

You can tell a lot about a movie from just the first moments of the opening scene.  You can tell if it will be good or bad, funny or serious, maybe even lighthearted or dramatic. It’s the job of the director to convey to us what the tone of a film will be so that the audience can prepare themselves mentally for what they are about to see.  Punisher: War Zone took a shotgun to our face and presented us with an amazingly bad, guilty pleasure movie that sets the tone of the film with an opening sequence that would make any gun, violence, action, or Soldier of Fortune reader explode in their pants in a violent arterial spray of wonder and excitement.

Fueled by revenge and aided by his trusted weapons expert, Microchip (Wayne Knight), vigilante Frank Castle (Rome‘s Ray Stevenson) turns the New York City streets red with blood as he takes down each and every member of the crime syndicate responsible for the death of his wife and two kids. As the law-appointed “Punisher Task Force” closes in on him, the antihero does battle with Billy Russoti (Dominic West), aka Jigsaw, a nickname given by him to reflect the disfigurement handed to him by Castle. With the help of his psychotic brother, Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchison), Jigsaw recruits the criminals of the city to band together to bring down The Punisher, using the wife (played by Dexter‘s Julie Benz) and daughter of a slayed FBI agent as bait. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

Let me tell you, when an opening scene of a film contains the following items, this is gonna be a fucking awesome movie: decapitations, neck snapping, impalement, a body count of no less than 30, entire family members being slaughtered and people being stabbed in the face with a chair.  Those are just a few of the things that happen in the first 15 minutes of a movie, the sort of wet dream that mercenaries have when they drift off to sleep in a gun crate.  I do need to reiterate this once again, that is just the first 15 minutes of the movie and there is a whole 75 more minutes of gun toting pleasure to be had.  Punisher: War Zone embraces the notion of the hard-boiled vigilante Frank Castle’s quest for blood and revenge to a level unseen in most action films.  For a Marvel comic book character and series, he is no pussy that is for sure.

I honestly love the shit out of this version of The Punisher series.  Don’t get me wrong, Thomas Jane did a good job in the 2004 version, but lets face it, he looked a little to All American Quarterback for a role that is meant for a guy who looks like he lives in the sewers, jerking off with a barrel of gun powder next to his guns.  Ray Stevenson is the sort of guy that embodies my image of Frank Castle.  Stevenson looks like he lost his family in a mob hit and every night goes out to sacrifice entire gangs to the God of War in order to be able to sleep at night.  He walks through every scene with a gun in front and a trail of dead bodies behind him.  He is more of the shoot first, shoot some more, and ask a question before shooting again sort of guy.  It’s gorgeous ultra-violence delivered by a frightening individual, everything the conflicted character known as The Punisher should be about.  Stevenson grunts and stares his way through dialogue driven scene and it’s funny to see him get frustrated because he can’t shoot his gun quick enough to end the unnecessary communication.  Whatever can’t be said with a bullet, shouldn’t be said at all.

Punisher: War Zone fulfills the needs of those who want a guilty pleasure movie.  The acting is wooden and the line delivery is just dripping with B-movie grade quality and the only redeeming thing about the film is the wanton display of action and violence.  It’s amazing for me to say this, but the opening scene where Castle destroys an entire mansion full of bad guys is just the tip of iceberg.  From exploding meth heads, entrails being pulled out of someone and the devastating punches from Castle that collapse a persons face in like a dying star, these are just a few of the things that make you check your brain at the door and pick up a gun to shoot into the air with excitement.  I love this fucking movie.

*images via RottenTomatoes

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

4 Responses to Movie of the Day – Punisher: War Zone

  1. TheBruce says:

    This is one of the greatest American action films of the 21st century. It’s like a tribute to celluloid death and nothing but a highlight reel of onscreen murder. If you took out the scenes that DIDN’T feature someone being killed, you’d cut out about five minutes. There are rockets up people’s asses, decapitations, bloody axe murders, shotgun blasts to the face, people being impaled, etc.

    Sure, you could always use a little more of the whole existential Punisher business, but, really, with a film this explosive, I don’t think that’s really what they were going for. It is violent, unrestrained, chock full of death, fucking hilarious and totally loving every fucking minute of it. There is much humor in this film and you could argue whether or not it was done intentionally. Nevertheless, it is fucking funny and fucking fun.

  2. rochpikey says:

    A guilty pleasure probably is the best way to describe this film. It has really good action and moves along at a very fast pace. Plus I liked the villain and his crazy brother. Although I preferred the Tom Jane film, this one was cool and had more of the comic-bookie feel. Good review! You really summed up Stevenson’s portrayal of the character perfectly.

    • Nick says:

      oh stop, you are making blush. I mean I tried really hard to the capture the subtle nature in which Stevenson really brought out the rage in The Punisher role. I feel like i could have added more grunts and bullet sounds.

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