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


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
Paul Crowder and ‘Boss’ Wooldridge Talk ‘The Blue Angels’ Doc – Interview

Director, Paul Crowder and Flying Ace, Greg “Boss” Woolridge talk about...

Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

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 Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

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
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

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
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...