Review: Punisher: War Zone

There's a scene in Punisher: War Zone where Frank Castle is in church, and a father asks him why he does what he does. His response is that someone must punish the corrupt, which is fair enough. But there are a few other people besides the corrupt that should be punished, and that's Lexi Alexander and Marvel for making such an awful movie. This version is another of Marvel's reboots, much like The Incredible Hulk was earlier this year. However, this one wasn't done in house, rather by Lionsgate Studios. This version was certainly violent enough to be representative enough of the Punisher, but a lot of the violence was pretty gratuitous. Let's delve into the story a bit (what little bit of story there was). There are going to be spoilers here, so keep that in mind. We're brought in at a meeting of an Italian mob boss's "get out of jail" reunion dinner. Dominic West plays Billy, the impudent nephew of the mob boss in question. He's obsessed with his looks, threatening his escort by choking her when she offers to help fix his hair. Anyway the Punisher shows up and kills about 1,000 mobsters. Ok, not that many, but within the first 10 minutes of the film there's a massive body count. Billy makes his escape, and retreats to the docks where he laments the lack of "intelligence" on his uncle's part. Cue Punisher again. He kills another 1,000 mobsters in about two minutes and in the process forces Billy into what appears to be a glass recycling mixer. Wait for it...wait for it. Yes sir, that's irony there. The man so obsessed with his looks gets mangled by glass! Well we come to find out that one of the men in Billy's unit was an undercover FBI agent that Punisher inadvertently kills, which of course he feels remorse for. But this man was also the one responsible for managing all of Billy's funds, and with him dead Billy has no money. He somehow had enough money though to have his face "repaired," creating the villain Jigsaw. Radom sidenote: they made no mention as to how he escaped the raid. I mean, he was in a vat of broken glass, the Feds show up and say he's alive, and then next thing we know he's in an apartment somewhere after surgery at a free clinic. Anyways, he goes after the formal agent's wife and kid, but first he has to break out his brother, Looney Bin Jim. His character caricaturely (I don't think that's a word, but I'm writing this so I can decree it so) hyperbolizes Hannibal Lector. Only if Hannibal were played by Steve Martin or something. Seriously, this guy is supposed to be some insane, cannibalistic lunatic, but the only thing he does is act like an idiot and break mirrors when he's around his brother. The two of them are caught at the house of the dead agent, and in order to get immunity Billy offers to tell the new Feds news of a bioterrorism delivery that will be used by the "ragheads in Queens" (glad to see we're being politically correct and all). The Russians at the deal are caught, and the head one caught tells Billy that his father will kill him. Enter abandoned hotel that Billy and Jim make as their headquarters, featuring Asian gangs, black gangs, Hispanic gangs and Irish gangs on Billy's side, and the Russians on the Punisher's side. Well the Russians take out the Asian gang and Punisher takes out everyone else. Of course he ends up taking out Billy and his brother, but not before Microchip is taken out in the process. In June we saw Marvel's Abomination in The Incredible Hulk, but maybe they were a little too early. THIS movie was the true Abomination in the Marvel Universe. The score was awful, the camera shots were horrendous, there was no pacing, the story was about as a simple as 2+2 and you don't care about the characters at all. There are some "cutting edge" shots that were cutting edge about ten years ago in The Matrix. Ray Stevenson was ok as the Punisher, but I still think that Thomas Jane was better (somehow in his vengeance seeking, Castle finds time in his subway lair to put a ton of grease in his hair and slick it back...I thought this man was focused on vengeance and not style). That version of the Punisher was better than this. This is going out on a limb here, but I'm thinking that even the Dolph Lundgren version of Punisher was better than this. If I were you, I woud avoid this movie at all costs. Don't even waste your time when it comes out on DVD. The film is truly horrible and I don't know what Marvel signed off on it. It is simply shot after shot after shot of bullets ripping victims' heads apart. If you're looking for a D movie trying to be a B movie then you have it here. Alexander pretty much failed with this film and I don't know if anyone will ever get the Punisher truly right. As I said before, the Thomas Jane version actually had characters you could care about. This one, not so much. Overall score: 30 out of 100