Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Colin Salmon, Julie Benz
Nick Santora, Art Marcum
Sometimes, I hate writing movie reviews.
"Punisher: War Zone" is one of those times.
After all, the people who are going to see "Punisher: War Zone" don't actually care about my opinion. They don't care that I'm going to say the acting is awful. They won't care that I'll say that the script is downright silly. They sure won't care when I whine "Punisher: War Zone" even being too lazy to come up with an original villain.
Jigsaw? Really, that's what you could come up with? You hadn't gotten tired of that after, say, the fourth or fifth "Saw" film?
The truth is "Punisher: War Zone" WILL appeal to psychotic action boy geeks who want filmmakers to pour in as much blood as possible and don't really care about such things as storyline, character development or, for that matter, filmmaking.
In other words, "Punisher: War Zone" will likely win the box-office its opening weekend regardless of what I say.
Alas, say I must..."Punisher: War Zone" sucks.
I give Lionsgate credit, though. They actually screened this film. I seldom ever get to see these films prior to opening day. It's one of the worst parts of being a film critic...the worst films are the ones we don't get to see in advance. So, if we want to review them we usually end up paying for it out-of-pocket.
At least, "Punisher: War Zone" was a freebie.
In this go around, Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson, television's "Rome") takes on a mob boss but unintentionally makes matters worse when he horridly disfigures one gangster (Dominic West, television's "The Wire") and murders an undercover FBI agent.
Suddenly, the crime fighter has become the criminal.
Castle is content to retire from crime fighting...that is, until the disfigured mobster, now known as Jigsaw, kidnaps an innocent family and, well, you know where this is all going.
Truthfully, where this is going doesn't even matter.
"Punisher: War Zone" is simply an excuse for excessive violence in the name of justice or protection or vengeance or something.
It's difficult for me to say if this film is the worst of the bunch...I recall hating the first one with Dolph Lundgren, and I recall being bored to tears by the second one with Thomas Jane.
I wasn't bored here. That much I can say.
Despite my overall distaste for "Punisher: War Zone," I find myself unable to completely trash it. On a certain level, much like the "Saw" films, it accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish.
In other words, it aims really low and hits its mark.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic