Now on 4K UHD Blu-ray: The Gonzo Violence of ‘Punisher: War Zone’

GameStop, Inc.

Punisher: War Zone 4K

The Punisher is a unique character in the world of Marvel Comics. He’s a vigilante armed to the teeth, a character who emerged in the shadow of Charles Bronson in the Death Wish movies without superpowers unless you count an arsenal as a superpower. Even before the modern superhero movie boom, The Punisher was one of the few characters in the Marvel stable that could grace the screen without the need for CGI. Whether it was the 1989 film starring Dolph Lundgren or the 2004 film starring Thomas Jane, the film adaptations of The Punisher focused extensively on the internal pain that drives Frank Castle into dedicating his life to becoming a massively violent vigilante. It’s a mistaken perspective on the character, as the reality is that Frank Castle is so engulfed in his own grief and trauma that he can’t do anything but inflict pain on others, many whom often are deserving of his wrath. The best portrayal of Frank Castle in filmed media is 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, starring Ray Stevenson and directed by Lexi Alexander. It’s a movie that revels in graphic violence but focuses instead on the pain and suffering that Frank Castle inflicts.

In Lexi Alexander’s gonzo comic book insanity, Frank Castle (Stevenson) is carrying out his one-man war on the mob. While taking out an entire mob party, Castle brutally kills a number of mobster with extremely violent shooting, stabbings, and a punch that flies right through the skull of one unfortunate criminal. In the subsequent chase with those who survived and fled, Castle gravely wounds and disfigures Billy (Dominic West), who becomes reassembled and reborn as Jigsaw. In the melee, though, Castle kills Nicky Donatelli (Romano Orzari), an undercover agent. For the first time on screen, Frank Castle must deal with doubt about his violent mission to eradicate crime, and he has to confront that doubt in the saddened faces of Donatelli’s widow Angela (Julie Benz) and daughter Grace (Stephanie Janusauskas). Donatelli’s old partner Paul Budiansky (Colin Salmon) has come into track down Frank Castle, though he finds that office Martin Soap (Dash Mihok) might’ve not been forthright in his attempts to apprehend the vigilante. As Jigsaw and his demented brother Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchinson) unleash a gang war to seize control of New York City, it’s up to The Punisher and some unsteady alliances to do what must be done.

The violence of Punisher: War Zone is simply over the top. It’s sometimes ghastly comic as the blood splats and other times it’s shockingly grotesque. At once the violence of War Zone can feed our basest desires for bloodlust while also illustrating the horrific and ugly nature of violence. It’s a rare balancing act that you don’t see too often these days, but one that is necessary for a character such as The Punisher whose extrajudicial killings are both thrilling and horrific.

Punisher: War Zone is the lone film released under the Marvel Knights label, an intended alternate subheading for more adult oriented films under the Marvel label. Punisher: War Zone was a notable flop, greeted coldly by critics and audiences. It didn’t help the film that there was all sorts of unfounded scuttlebutt about the creative struggles going on behind the scenes, and the film was delayed because of that. And yet it’s stature has grown over the years because it’s such an insane work of cinema. Lexi Alexander throws everything into this bonkers piece of action filmmaking. You get brutal fist fights. You get intense shootouts. You get parkour criminals blown to bits with a bazooka. And the twisted gonzo attitude of the film is further highlighted by the neon-infused visuals that amplify the insane violence.

Finally, Punisher: War Zone lands on 4K Ultra HD and the film’s demented personality has never looked better. The film’s highly stylized look bursts off the screen with the stunning colors that swirl and the darkness that occupies the frame as much of the film takes place at night. The Punisher continues to live on after Stevenson’s lone turn as Frank Castle thanks to Jon Bernthal’s take on the role in the Netflix series. But the latest incarnation of the character makes the same mistakes of the past, focusing so intently on Castle’s past trauma and how it informs his violent tendencies today. The only movie to get the moral and ethical complexity of The Punisher and his warped moral code is Punisher: War Zone, and it’s a wild ride that is unmatched in the world of comic book movies. Who knew that something as ugly as the brutal violence of Lexi Alexander’s film could look so damn good.

Punisher: War Zone
  • Overall Score
3.5

Summary

A hyper-violent, hyper-stylized comic book movie, Punisher: War Zone finds the moral complexity of Frank Castle’s vigilante quest while presenting a wild, colorful comic book movie that entertains from start to finish.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Emmy Winner, Tasia Valenza ‘Gives Great Voice’

Most people no Emmy Award Winning Actress, Tasia Valenza from such...

Emilio Estevez and Original Cast Members Reunited for Disney+ ‘Mighty Ducks’

From Disney – BURBANK, CA (February 13, 2020)-  Emilio Estevez is...

‘We’ is a Dutch Film that Wishes it was Larry Clark’s ‘Bully’

The Dutch film, We takes place in a small, Dutch-Belgium border...

Event News Event Reviews
‘A Black and White Cookie’ A Play About Racial Harmony Hits NYC

Press Release – (New York, NY) – Ego Actus Theatre Company...

Katee Sackhoff Receives Vanguard Award at SOVAS – Interview

Katee Sackhoff has become a television and voice over icon in...

Adam Rocha Celebrates the Silver Anniversary of the San Antonio Film Festival

The San Antonio Film Festival (SAFilm) is celebrating 25 years of ...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Marvel United
Marvel United – The First-Ever Marvel Game on Kickstarter

Marvel United, the first-ever Marvel game on Kickstarter brought to us...

The Kingdom of Wakanda Rises in Marvel Realm of Champions

Press Release – Today, Kabam revealed new details on the KINGDOM OF WAKANDA,...

Turtle Beach Atlas Aero Featuring Waves Nx 3D Audio

Hear what the little lamb said to the shepherd boy with...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
9/10
Shazam! 10: The Gingerbread War! Review

Title: Shazam! 10 Writer: Geoff Johns Pencils: Dale Eaglesham and Scott...

David Dastmalchian Teams Up with Dark Horse for ‘Count Crowley’ – Interview

Actor David Dastmalchian is the embodiment of turning one’s life around....

Neon Future Interview with Founder & Writer

A few months ago at WonderCon 2019, I had the honor...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
McCafé Frappé
McCafé Frappé in a Bottle is a Great Way to Start the Day

McCafé Frappé in a Bottle is the best way to start...

Consumable Gift List 2019
FBN Consumable Gift List 2019

Our Consumable Holiday Gift List 2019 – The best gift to...

LS50X Snoop Dogg Limited-Edition Headset
LucidSound Announces LS50X Snoop Dogg Limited-Edition Headset Pre-Order

LucidSound announces LS50X Snoop Dogg Limited-Edition headset pre-order opening November 19...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
LA Wildcats Fall to the Dallas Renegades in the Home Opener

Sunday, February 16, 2020 – In the second game of the...

Houston Roughnecks to Host XFL Championship Game

From the XFL – HOUSTON, February 13, 2020 – The XFL,...

Jeff Martin Opens Dream MMA School and is Set to Fight at Lights Out XF on March 13

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) veteran, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and now...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Wizarding Rumble

As usual, something has gone wrong with Harry and Ron.

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Return of Mothman (to Pahrump, NV)

Mothman goes home.

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and back to normal?

Things get back to normal ?

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 34: Chris Prynoski

Whitney Grace is digging through her queue of old new stock...

Episode 33: Jerry Beck

Join Whitney Grace in this blast down memory lane with an...

Episode 32: Mathew Klickstein

I’m back and done explaining about the current state of my...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Comedy Duo Ben Giroux and Jensen Reed Take Us, ‘Back To The 80s’

Two of the funniest men in show business, Ben Giroux (Hart...

James Maslow ‘Rush’es the Stage to Perform at Super Girl Surf Pro on Sunday

James Maslow is an American singer, actor and songwriter best known as the star of...

Jason Lazarus Talks about Composing the Music for ‘Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans’

Jason Lazarus is a Los Angeles based composer for film, television, and...