I gotta tell ya, this movie rules. Now I’ve read a lot of bad reviews about “Punisher: War Zone“, and it is currently tanking at the box office, but this is seriously one of the best comic book movies that no one will ever see. For the record, I am huge Punisher fan. I’ve been reading the books since I was a kid, including spinoffs like “War Journal” and his appearances in “The Nam“. Garth Ennis‘ recent reinterpretation of the character has helped keep the Punisher pertinent, and the new movie is heavily influenced by Ennis’ storylines, over-the-top violence, and physically grotesque villainy.
In fact, the film is one of the most true-to-the-source-material comic book movies that I’ve ever seen. Appearances by such notable Punisher characters as dim-witted detective Soapy, mutilated psychopath Jigsaw, overweight assistant Microchip, (Wayne Knight) and lunatic black Irishman Mcginty, lend the movie some serious fan-boy cred. Rome‘s Ray Stevenson is a great Frank Castle, and his gruff, man-of-few words disposition and imposing physical size perfectly match the character’s comic book counterpart.
And the violence, oh the violence. The Punisher has always been Marvel‘s R-rated hero, and this movie perfectly understands this. War Zone is filled with holy-shit-that’s-awesome moments and any description of them would ruin the bloody surprise. The only film that I can think of that compares in the sheer amount of cheer-inducing deaths is Robert Rodriguez‘s murder masterpiece, Planet Terror.
Garth Ennis has repeatedly mentioned Dirty Harry as an influence on his take on The Punisher, and this movie perfectly understands the idea of Castle-as-scary-gun-toting-anti-hero. Besides, what’s Christmas without a little over-the-top violence? (see Die Hard, Home Alone,) And with that in mind I say, Punisher War Zone is the best holiday movie so far. With “Four Christmases” a close second.