Ten Thousand Bytes of Cinematic Critique
This movie is absolutely fantastic, so long as your only criteria is seeing creative and bloody ways for people to die. If you enjoy an interesting plot, good acting, or a story of any reasonable nature, you will be disappointed. The story of the Punisher, Frank Castle, is fairly basic. The original tale has a Vietnam vet (Francis Castiglione) take his family to the park, where they are murdered in the crossfire of a mafia battle/hit/something. Whereas Batman swore vengeance by striking terror into the hearts of men, the Punisher just took a machete and jabbed it into the hearts of men. While this is probably all you need for a comic book, a film requires a little more depth. The sad thing is, the comic book series HAS had good, intriguing stories. Punisher: War Zone is shallow, a gore fetishists dream and nothing more. The characters are particularly bland when they aren't outright crap. I do like the make-up for Jigsaw, the deformed main villain, but his hammy acting is dwarfed only by the character's brother, a goofy Bullseye wannabe. Just to get an idea of this movie, there are three villains (what one would refer to as mini bosses in a video game). Their special ability is that they jump and do flips. Yeah, basically, their power is that they're acrobats on meth...I'm pretty much serious about that. Anyway, the Punisher catches up to them at one scene in the movie, and I expected there to be a ten minute fight where the slow, lumbering Punisher (played by 44 year old Ray Stevenson) tries to kill these younger, faster thugs. What actually happens is they stand still while the Punisher picks them off one by one using 1) a heat seeking rocket launcher, 2) a sniper rifle, and 3) a metal fence. Yup. I actually like the excessive violence, but it's hollow without at least a moderately formed plot and decent acting. I don't think some of the actors in this film are bad, but their performances certainly are. Subpar is basically the subtitle of this film.
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