Friday, December 5, 2008

Punisher: War Zone

Man, what a shitty movie.

It’s a very comic book-type movie. It’s played for laughs a lot of the time. And if there is one comic book character that you just don’t play for laughs – that you just don’t treat like a comic book character – then it’s the Punisher.
But no, the writers and director don’t see it that way, I guess. Which is unfortunate, because the Punisher has a lot of cinematic potential (as evidenced by the 2004 version starring Thomas Jane).

Like any relatively new director, Lexi Alexander does try new things. There are a few shots in the movie that blew me away. Some of the framing was just so new and refreshing, and other shots made me think of Stanley Kubrick as far as just sheer beauty and control of the frame go. Unfortunately, that only accounts for 1% of the movie. The other 99% pretty much amounts to shit.

The action is over the top, which is usually fine by me, but the camera barely holds on any shot in which someone isn’t blowing up. I’m normally a fan of gore, but only when it’s used correctly. “War Zone” fails in that respect.

If there were a saving grace for this movie, it would be Ray Stevenson’s performance. The guy’s got chops. I completely believe that his heart is being torn up every time he talks to the little girl in the movie, being reminded of his own daughter. The brief, wonderful moments between Frank Castle and the little girl are heart wrenching and pretty much pitch perfect.

I won’t be seeing it in theaters again, even though I am usually a repeat viewer.

I am a huge Punisher fan, but when the DVD comes out, I’ll have to take a good, hard look at the special features before I decide to shell out any money for it.

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