" Infamous vigilante, anti-hero Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) is six years into his vengeance driven zeal as the Punisher when he brutally assaults a "beat the rap" party for notorious mob boss Gaitano Cesare. During the course of the massacre, he hideously disfigures overeager gangster Billy Russoti (Dominic West) and murders a mafia lackey who turns out to be an undercover FBI agent. Agent Paul Budiansky (Colin Salmon), the ex-partner of the undercover Fed, joins the NYPD's "Punisher Task Force" to help bring Castle to justice, once and for all. A facially mutilated Russoti recovers from his run-in with the Punisher with revenge on his mind and recruits a massive army of psychotic killers, gangbangers, and mobsters under his new alias "Jigsaw." Distraught that he has now become the very evil he swore to battle, Castle is content to hang up his guns and quit the justice business for good. However, plans quickly change once he learns that Jigsaw has not only kidnapped the surviving wife and child of the dead federal agent but now has also freed his commited psychopathic brother, James (Doug Hutchison)...aka..."Loony Bin Jim." Forced back into the war, the Punisher now has to face off against Jigsaw's formidable army in order to save the lives of an innocent family his actions put in the firing line "Clock's ticking.""
Ok, it is now currently 2:00 in the morning on a Sunday night. So what do you think I have to do? I picked up 'Punisher: Warzone' earlier today. The reboot to the 2004 film 'Punisher', and did I like this reboot? No and Yes.
For the comic book nerds out there, this is the movie that you've been kind of waiting for. I say kind of because this is everything that Frank Castle is supposed to be. Ray Stevenson (The Punisher) absolutely nails this role perfectly in playing out this disturbed psychopath and taking the audience along with him on his gruesome journey to take down thugs and mob bosses. Throughout this movie we can see the Frank Castle that we know and love. Every time I see him kill someone VERY gruesomely and have no remorse I can't help but crack a smile.
There is a scene where three thugs who are jumping from rooftop to rooftop are about to jump onto their next platform. One jumps and does a flip and lands on the roof, no problem. The second one decides to go, and right after he jumps. Midair, out of nowhere. A rocket comes speeding toward him and blows him to pieces! The camera moves to the thug's buddies and captures their facial expressions but then moves to the roof across the street and you see Frank Castle with a serious look on his face like nothing has even happened. That's what this movie captured the best the fact that he really doesn't give a fuck what the hell happens to these guys. They've done bad things to others, and of course he's there to Punish them. But the sad truth is, is that Ray Stevenson seems to be the only positive thing about this film.
Everything else about this film is HORRIBLE. The acting, the dialogue, the script, the horrid fake New York accents, they all just made me cringe and sometimes giggle to myself. The main problem is the villains. Good God. The director, Lexi Alexander I couldn't tell whether she was trying to make a serious hardcore Punisher film or a campy comic book movie, Example 'The Spirit'. Through this movie, I honestly had no idea what she was aiming for. At some points in, (especially the opening scene) I was impressed at where this movie was going, it was heading toward the fact that Hollywood can actually pull off a good Punisher movie.
The villain in this movie is 'Jigsaw'. A mob boss whose face becomes deformed from Frank Castle himself hurling him into what I believe was a glass compactor. Jigsaw then sees throughout the movie that he gets revenge on Frank Castle. Up until the point that they introduced Jigsaw this movie had my heart. When Jigsaw says, "Don't call me Billy. Billy is dead. From now on I'll be known as Jigsaw", the movie lost me from there.
Some do say that this movie cannot be done. There can not be a good Punisher movie without making it seem too campy or just too ridiculous. I can give two good examples of why this can be done. Man on Fire and Taken. Both movies about just regular people taking the law into their own hands, getting those hands dirty, and kicking some ass. THIS CAN BE DONE, we just havn't found anyone who can pull it off yet. We do have one foot in the door by hiring Ray Stevenson to play The Punisher, but we're just not there yet.
So all in all, is this a good movie. No, oh God NO. But, if you're a comic book fan and a Punisher fan you'll probably dig this movie as much as I did. The movie can't be taken seriously at some points, the acting, and especially the dialogue is horrible. This movie has alot of gore, scenes at some points are unbelivable. He literally punches a guy's face in and it implodes! At best I'll give it a 3 and 1/2 stars, but if you're not a fan of comic books or comic book movies I'd give this 1 and 1/2 stars.
There are so many things that I love about this film, and I appreciate what it's trying to do but it's just not there yet. It's trying to get up that hill but it's just too short from reaching the top. I can only hope and predict that Hollywood can learn from their mistakes here and make this the excellent film that it's meant to be.