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Punisher: War Zone: Ewan's take

01/12/2009. Contributed by Ewan Angus

Buy Punisher: War Zone (2009) in the USA - or Buy Punisher: War Zone (2009) in the UK

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Region 2 DVD: pub: Sony Pictures B001WAKCWI. 99 minute film DVD. Price: 5.98 if you know where to look)cast: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchinson and Julie Benz.

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Well for a start, this is the Punisher, so you know it's going to be pretty violent. It's also based on 'The Punisher Max' series written by Garth Ennis so you know it's going to be even more violent than you first thought. Garth Ennis is the man who wrote 'The Boyz' and if you've read my previous review you'll know what I thought of that.

So yes, 'The Punisher: War Zone'. Those of you who are after a deep meaningful plot with amazing acting and scenes of Oscar standard should look elsewhere. Those of you who want an authentic, dark look into the character that is Frank Castle. Here you go.

Following the assassination of an entire gangster family Castle (played by a greasy haired, teary-eyed Ray Stevenson) chases the remnants of said gang to an old, stereotypical crime haunt, a warehouse. Once there, he accidentally kills an undercover FBI agent or in Castle's black and white world, one of the good guys. Cue much angst, disappointment, guilt and gore.

It's this mentality that this film runs on, the black and white concept, it's also this theme of goodies and baddies that's kept the character going for thirty-five years. In 'War Zone', director Lexi Alexander has made more of an attempt to bring the darkness that resides within the Punisher to the surface. Something she has almost managed. Ray Stevenson was perfectly cast as the dark brooding vigilante with nothing going for him except his awesome body armour and his depression. He kicks the previous, laughable attempt by Thomas Jane in the face. There is no doubt in my mind which one of them should be wearing the white skull vest.

For emotional depth. I think it kind of tries, except it doesn't quite get there so in order to kind of brush that under the carpet someone explodes in a bloody mess. There's one moving scene in which Frank sits crying against his family's grave. Shown from above. it almost seems as if he's shouldering the burden of their deaths or at least weighed down by them. Powerful stuff.

One thing this movie has been heralded for is its gore. Something I can.t really dispute. It takes the whole bang. you're dead thing to new heights. Fat man on the toilet, exploding head. Guy taking cocaine, punched through the face.

Yeah, Frank Castle's fist goes through his face.

Now don't get me wrong. It's bloody. It's very bloody, but it's ridiculous gore. It's like a Marvel Max comic in every sense. It takes violence and ups the ante. It takes stereotypes and fires them at each other.

So whilst the Dark Knight is off playing psychological thriller this isn't playing at being anything. It's a comic book movie. Pure and simple. It's not going to break any barriers or win awards or critical acclaim, it just does what it's meant to. It's a film about the Punisher and he punishes people.

That's it. What more do you want?

Ewan Angus

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