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Punisher: War Zone

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Punisher: War Zone
Punisher WZ.jpg
True believers, vengeance has no name.
Genre: Action
Directed By: Lexi Alexander
Produced By: Gale Anne Hurd
Written By: Nick Santora
Art Marcum
Matt Holloway
Based On: The Punisher
by Gerry Conway
Ross Andru
John Romita Sr.
Starring: Ray Stevenson
Dominic West
Julie Benz
Colin Salmon
Doug Hutchison
Dash Mihok
Wayne Knight
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Steve Gainer
Distributed By: Marvel Studios
Sony Pictures Releasing (International)
Release Date: December 5, 2008
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $35 million
Box Office: $10.1 million

Punisher: War Zone is a 2008 superhero filmdirected by Lexi Alexander. The film is a reboot instead of a sequel the first Punisher film. It is the third feature film adaptation of The Punisher and the second reboot of it, as well as one of the first two films to be produced under the Marvel Knights production banner. Punisher: War Zone was released in North America by Lionsgate on December 5, 2008, and on February 6, 2009 in the UK. It received negative reviews and grossed only $10 million worldwide. It was the lastPunisher film to be produced before Marvel Studios regained the rights.


Frank Castle, the ex-military man whose family was killed by criminals, who became a vigilante known as the Punisher, goes after a whole mob family and gets everyone except enforcer Billy Russoti. He tracks Russoti down and chases him into a vat that is used for crushing bottles. Frank turns on the crusher hoping it would take care of him but it doesn't. He survives but sustains very severe injuries that even with plastic surgery his face looks like a jigsaw puzzle. So he decides to adopt the name Jigsaw. Frank who killed one of Russoti's people who unknown to him is an undercover Fed, decides to pack it in. But when he learns Russoti didn't die and is looking for the money he entrusted to the Fed and will go looking for it at his home which means his family is in danger. So Frank tries to save them. But Russoti wants revenge on Frank so he breaks out his brother who is so crazed that he is committed to an asylum, to deal with him. And also another Fed who's a friend of the man Frank killed wants him too.

Why It's Punished

  1. The movie shares the exact same problem as 2004's The Punisher, with too much mindless action with very little substance.
  2. Similar to Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, and etc., this was made so that Lionsgate could keep the rights for the Punisher and failed to do so.
  3. Poor acting and Ray Stevenson isn't a very good Punisher, unlike the previous film which had a decent Punisher actor.
  4. Jigsaw is a poor and goofy villain who doesn't feel like he should be in this movie at all, as he is incredibly cheesy and has a laughable accent. His name is changed to Billy Russotti than Russo.
  5. The film expects you to know who the Punisher is before coming into the movie, as no backstory of any sort is given.
  6. Boring plot with the main conflict being sidelined for more blood, gore, and mindless action. The film also feels more like an early attempt at a superhero film made in the '80s than one released in 2008. What makes this even more mind-numbing is the fact that films such as The Dark Knight and Iron Man came out the same year and they didn't feel like '80s superhero films.
  7. It was responsible for killing off any more attempts at making a Punisher movie (or a TV show) until the character's introduction in the MCU.
  8. The cartoonish violence doesn't blend in well with the realistic environment the movie is trying to convey.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The film is set in New York like in the comics.
  2. Detective Soap is just as dumb as his comic book counterpart.
  3. The licensed music is decent.
  4. Despite being generic, Jigsaw's "puzzled" makeup design looks pretty good and faithful unlike the tv series adaptation of the Punisher.
  5. Wayne Knight did a good job as Microchip.


Critical and audience response

Punisher: War Zone currently has a rating of 29% based on 109 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 4.28/10. The critical consensus states "War Zone recalls the excessively violent, dialogue-challenged actioners of the 1980s, and coincidentally feels two decades out of date." On Metacritic, the film has a critic score of 30/100, as well as a user rating average of 5.9/10 on IMDb.


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