MONKEY REVIEW: Punisher: War Zone

December 5, 2008

punisherwarzoneThough it can be said that Lexi Alexander, director of Punisher: War Zone, has a flair for staging gory, hard-R action, it cannot be said this is enough to overcome an almost stupefyingly bad script. I saw it based on some positive early Internet buzz, but the lesson learned was: Don’t trust early positive Internet buzz. This is the third time the Punisher, a Marvel comic book character, has merited a movie, the first attempt being in 1989 with Dolph Lundgren, the second in 2004 with Thomas Jane and now in 2008 with Ray Stevenson. I can’t tell you how faithful or unfaithful it is to its comic book origins, but I can tell what this movie really reminds me of is yet another Death Wish movie. It features a main character whose family is destroyed (like in Death Wish), becomes a vigilante (like in Death Wish) and kills bad guys in brutal, yet creative ways (like in Death Wish). It’s also like Death Wish, well, at least like Death Wish 3, 4 and 5, in that it features absurdly over the top, grotesquely stereotyped 80’s style villains who appear to have wandered in Punisher: War Zone directly from the aforementioned films. In fact, the whole enterprise has a retro 80’s action picture feel, and that is by no means a compliment. The only reason this movie escapes my worst Monkey Rating is owing to some grimly amusing action scenes. Minus those, Punisher: War Zone is pretty punishing.

MONKEY RATING: FOUR VIGILANTE MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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2 Responses to “MONKEY REVIEW: Punisher: War Zone”

  1. Patrick Says:

    dang, too bad they didn’t bring back Thomas Jane to be Frank Castle again

  2. radiondn Says:

    I have no idea why they didn’t, aside from this movie supposedly being a “reboot.” Instead, I think Marvel just effectively killed the franchise.


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