Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Punisher War Zone |
2-Disc Special Edition
Actors: Ray Stevenson, Doug Hutchison, Wayne Knight, Colin Salmon, Julie Benz
Director: Lexi Alexander
Genres: Action & Adventure
Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante-hero Frank Castle sets his sights on overeager mob boss, Billy Russoti. After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengea... more »
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The Punisher does not work with cartoon villains and a whole
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/30/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the third movie about Marvel's vigilante hero known as the Punisher. First, he was played by Dolph Lundgren in 1989 and then Thomas Jane in 2004. "Punisher: War Zone" is not so much a sequel to either of those films, but rather a reboot of the series in an attempt to jump start it once again. The Punisher, a.k.a. Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson), aided and abetted by Micro (Wayne Knight), is trying to take out a gangster named Billy (Dominic West), who ends up in a tub of broken glass. Billy survives, but his face is sliced to ribbon and he adopts the more appropriate name of Jigsaw. That is bad enough news for the Punisher, but even worse is his realization that one of Billy's henchmen that he gunned down is an undercover cop, who leaves behind a widow, Angela (Julie Benz with black hair), and daughter (Stephanie Janusauskas). Since Frank Castle became the Punisher when his family was gunned down for witnessing a mob execution, this hits home with Frank. So the Punisher is after Jigsaw, who breaks his equally looney brother Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchinson) out of prison. Jigsaw is after the Punisher, as is Paul Budiansky (Colin Salmon), a by-the-book cop who has no tolerance for vigilantes. Menawhile, a guilt-ridden Frank reaches out to Angela, who also becomes a target to Jigsaw. Along the way, the Punisher kills a whole lot of bad guys.
When I heard Ray Stevenson was taking over the role of the Punisher I thought it was a good choice, since I loved his work as Titus Pullo in HBO's "Rome," a television series I have liked as much as any I have ever seen. Plus I remembered Stevenson from "King Arthur," so certainly he has the physical presence that the role requires and makes quite an impact in the opening scenes of the movie, where he is required to say little and communicates much with a look. Then he starts opening his mouth and the character starts to deteriorate because of the script, which was written by Nick Santora ("The Longshots") and the team of Art Marcum and Matt Holloway ("Iron Man"). The more Frank Castle talks, the less it works for the character; what works for Tony Stark, does not for Frank Castle. Then there is the gangster dialogue that is being spouted by the bad guys, and partly because of that and also because of Jigsaw's sewn up mug, I started to think there was some sort of homage going on to "Dick Tracy," which is what clued me in to what derails this film.
Frank Castle's story is tragic and the circumstances with Angela and her daughter brings all of that pain back to the Punisher. Beyond that, the Punisher is not a tradition (read: "glib") Marvel superhero (I seem to recall a time when Spider-Man thought the Punisher had told a joke, but could not bring himself to belief it). The Punisher lets his guns do the talking. He is a serious dude, arguably one of the most serious characters in the Marvel universe. But in this 2008 movie he is up against a couple of fairly cartoonish villains. There is a dictum that says it is not a movie's hero but a movie's villain that elevates it to greatness, and characters from Hannibal Lecter to the most recent version of the Joker evidence the idea. Jigsaw and his kid brother do not fit the bill as great villains, nor do they belong in the somber world of the Punisher. Director Lexi Alexander ("Green Street Hooligans") does a competent job in making this movie and the action sequences deliver blood and violence without constantly taking advantage of CGI, but the characters and dialogue presented by the script hamstring this movie. This probably dooms any chance of a sequel, but probably puts off the next reboot of the Punisher for eight years or so."