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Preserve Movie Review

Punisher: War Zone
 
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Movie Title: Punisher: War Zone
Movie Rating: 3 / 5
Runtime: 107 minutes
Release Year: 2008
 
Movie Review:

I was really prepared to like this movie. I love the Punisher, I loved the Dolph movie, I like bad movies in general and have very poor taste overall! However, at the start all the pieces either didn't fall into place or I just wasn't up to the task. The Punisher accidentally kills an undercover officer and is pretty darn emo about it. This is certainly in keeping with the character, but is a dull thing to add to a Punisher movie, which is better served by 89 minutes of gun battles and bad guy elimination. After some funerals and apologies and trying to get the widow to shoot him ("Who punishes you??") things were looking grim.

Thankfully things took a real turn for the better around minute 50! One of the most absurd and annoying parts of the movie, though occupying a very small part, were "Maginty and his urban free-flow gang" - basically three free-running putzes who acted like monkeys and climbed ladders and did backflips. They were going from intolerable to unbearable during their second appearance, when, while in mid-flip between two rooftops, a rocket zooms in from off screen and blows one to little pieces! This certainly re-engaged me right away, and the movie and I were again on good footing.

Unfortunately, while there was some improvement, overall the portrayal of Jigsaw was sort of small-time and pathetic, and Castle made the mistake of trying to protect the widow and daughter of the guy he plugged which of course went terribly wrong. We also see that Frank is a man of bible learning, but sometimes he'd like to get his hands on God. An inordinate amount of time was also spent following Jigsaw as he ransacked various houses and offices looking for some money, and wandering around the low-rent district recruiting thugs...the sort of thing we don't usually see the bad guy having to do. Interesting I suppose if handled well, but somewhat clumsy and slow in this presentation. The camera work is also languid and hesitant, often almost feeling pan-n-scan in spite of the widescreen presentation.

One of the other saving graces was the attention to detail with the firearms. The DVD has a nice feature on the Weapons of the Punisher, and they did spend the time and effort to do them right which is a great nod to the history of the character. Also put me in mind of the 'Armory' series of Punisher comics which were great fun to read for detailed and realistic details about the weapons and gear that Frank might use.

Overall, lots of bad guys got wasted, but usually at the expense of some truly laughable CGI. Frank did get to punch through a dude's head, which is always good. Sadly Micro has a very little part in the film except for the end, but at least Frank saves the little girl, which seemed to be key for the screenwriter. Also while mostly devoid of humor, the fat man in the elevator who Frank gets the drop on is at least a little treat near the end. We leave on a high note where Detective Soap is still a sad drunk and Frank still punishes the wicked - not entirely bad.

Quotes
"egg and cheese MRE - it's all I have."
"I see you anywhere near hell, I'll kick your ass out."
"If I remember right they aren't called the 10 suggestions."

 
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