Punisher: War Zone (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/02/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 107 mins

Entertaining if insanely violent and morally reprehensible thriller that delivers pretty much everything you'd expect from a Punisher movie.

What's it all about?
Like last year's The Incredible Hulk, Punisher: War Zone is both partial sequel to and partial reboot of the 2004 version with Thomas Jane (the 1989 Dolph Lundgren version is politely ignored). Ray Stevenson stars as Frank Castle, an ex-Marine (and... er... ex-priest) who turns gun-toting vigilante after the brutal murder of his family.

While slaughtering a house full of mobsters, Frank accidentally kills an undercover FBI agent and is so distraught that he considers hanging up his guns, knives, machetes and rocket launchers and giving up the whole vigilante thing altogether. However, when disfigured mobster Jigsaw (Dominic West) and his psycho brother Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchison) decide to go after the agent's wife and child (Julie Benz and Stephanie Janusauskas) for revenge, Frank swears to protect them at all costs.

The Good
If you enjoyed Taken and are fine with the moral implications of the good guy blowing away anyone that even looks at him funny (muggers and mobsters alike), then it's probably fair to say that you'll love Punisher: War Zone. The violence is extremely strong, but it's well done and occasionally inventive – there's a moment with a rocket launcher, for example, that borders on genius.

The Great
The acting isn't bad either. West's accent is kind of embarrassing at first (he seems to be doing a mix of Italian and Irish) but once he becomes Jigsaw (by being crushed in a bottle crushing machine), he's a lot more entertaining. Similarly, Stevenson is well cast and there's strong support from Benz (who seems to be the go-to girl for genre trash after this, Rambo and Saw V), Dash Mihok (as FBI Agent Soap) and Wayne Knight (as Microchip), while Hutchison turns the mental up to eleven as Loony Bin Jim.

Worth seeing?
Punisher: War Zone is a violent, trashy thriller that's aimed squarely at its fan base and provides exactly what you're expecting. Recommended, if you like that sort of thing.

Film Trailer

Punisher: War Zone (18)
Punisher: War Zone has been reviewed by 2 users
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Content updated: 20/07/2018 11:50

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