Punisher_War_Zone_Movie_Poster-Ray_StevensonLionsgate
2008
R

“Yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy, tummy, tummy.”

After hunting down and killing hundreds of violent criminals, Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, faces his most deadly foe yet: Jigsaw. Things go boom. Heads go splatter. Brain hurt badly…

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, for all its flaws, the 2004 Punisher movie staring Thomas Jane was the perfect one of the three that have been made so far. Yeah, I know it seems odd that I’d be talking up another movie in a review (actually, I do it all the time, you should be used to it by now), but after watching Punisher War Zone recently with my long-suffering compadre Boz-Man, there’s just no comparison. But since this review is about Punisher War Zone, I’ll stick to the subject at hand. Or at least try to the best of my unfocused abilities.

Officially speaking, Punisher War Zone is a reboot. That makes two reboots thus far. But, the origin story itself is regulated to a very brief “flashback” image, and a couple of mentioned by a couple of other characters. Usually, that’s reserved for a sequel — one that, say for instance, uses a subtitle like, just throwing this out here, “War Zone” — which, for all intents and purposes this movie could have been without anyone really raising that much of a stink. But, I guess technically “different origin means reboot”, or something like that.

See, what gets me about Punisher War Zone is how completely devoid of personality the movie really is. Yes, one could argue that this is based on a rather violent comic book that wasn’t exactly character-driven. And it would be valid. But one thing the 2004 movie had is an actual engaging story: it took time to build up not only Frank Castle’s back story, but also the mob boss’ reasons for going after Castle, which gave them all a depth we can all sympathize with. Here, all we have is a psychopathic antihero making things go boom, with his reasoning for doing this regulated to a line or two of dialogue here and there. You don’t care about any of the characters (and when Wayne Knight is perhaps the best thing to happen to the movie, one needs to rethink the whole thing), the bad guys really chew up the scenery like Pac-Man on blue ghosts, and the pacing is one big sloppy mess. Seriously, this is a bad movie, even by mindless action movie standards. And once again, I find myself lamenting wasting that dollar I used to rent this thing…pass…