2 out of 5 stars
If you’re the type who gets a kick out of heads being blown off, then you’ll probably disagree with my rating.
The Punisher: War Zone is an action-packed movie chock-full of blood, guts and gore. Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) is a former Special Forces instructor-turned-vigilante punishing criminals, specifically the different crime families, for killing off his family. For four years, he’s been successful at eliminating the heads of these various families, with the local police only slightly concerned about this. Everything changes, though, when Castle accidentally kills one of the good guys and at the same time manages to piss off one of THE craziest crime warlords in the area: Billy Russoti, a.k.a. Jigsaw. The story then revolves around the eventual face off between the two adversaries.
Perhaps the one good thing about this movie is the casting of Ray Stevenson. One can’t help but compare his portrayal of Castle with that of Thomas Jane, who played the same character back in 2004. Although the two movies are two completely different and separate “entities,” War Zone’s Stevenson looked, acted, and felt more authentic as a renegade combat man than Jane ever was in the first Punisher movie. Stevenson never let his tough guy exterior slip even during his more solemn moments, which adds to one’s sympathy towards his character because you see the internal struggle he’s facing.
As for his nemesis, Jigsaw, and his brother, Loony Bin Jim, both were adequately portrayed by Dominic West and Doug Hutchison, although it was hard to imagine Dominic West as an Italian mob man after his elegant but utterly detestable portrayal of an ambitious statesman in 300. His portrayal of Jigsaw was, for lack of a better word, merely good, for it felt almost comical, almost like he was channeling Heath Ledger’s Joker but which he fails to emulate properly. Hutchison seems to be typecast in the crazy, evil bad guy roles. While his “first” big bad buy role in a blockbuster movie was as white racist in A Time to Kill next to Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L. Jackson, it was in The Green Mile with Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan where we see Hutchison’s ability to portray such demented roles with perfection. In War Zone, we see Hutchison again in such a role this time with much more whacked out hysterics and agility (although I’m pretty sure this latter is courtesy of stunt doubles).
As for the story itself, well, there really is not much to say. It’s one man against the evil world while the police take a semi-blind eye to these events. It’s one man on the hunt for “revenge-slash-punishment” for his slain family. It’s one man against a literally crazy family of warlords. What it lacked in a solid story, it made up for with the action, blood, guts and gore.
Should you watch this movie? If you’re a guy who’s got a strong stomach and is looking for a way to waste time and money, then this would be something to watch and talk about. If you’re a girl like me who’s looking for some brainless entertainment, get the DVD and watch during the day. If you’re a kid, forget about it.
That said, I’m off to the toilet to puke my brains out.
*kidding, of course*