will punish them?"
Taking the fight
to organised crime, Frank Castle (Stevenson) is dealing his own deadly version
of justice as the Punisher. When an undercover FBI agent gets caught in
the cross fire while he is hunting down up and coming mobster Billy Russoti
(West), Frank starts to question his fight. Russoti survives the Punisher's
justice however and returns a very different man, who only wants to be known
as Jigsaw and he is going to get his revenge on Frank Castle.
With Marvel now
having there own studio and more power over the control of their characters,
can they inject some firepower into the Punisher?
The Punisher is
now stranger to the silver screen, having already appeared in two incarnations
but has never really captured the essence of the character created by writer
Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, Sr. and Ross Andru. The 1989 movie
starring Dolph Lundgren was dreadful and the more recent 2004 version starring
Thomas Jane was set in Miami and even injected some comedy into the mix.
With neither film lighting up the box office and not really been the Punisher
than the fan based longed to see on the big screen.
After the success
of their own adaptations of 'Iron Man' and 'The Incredible Hulk', Marvel
studios have decided to revisit the story of Frank Castle and restart the
franchise again. Forgetting everything we have been introduced to in the
previous two versions and not producing another origin story, 'Punisher:
War Zone' introduces us to a Frank Castle that has been dealing his deadly
kind of justice for five years. With the police turning a blind eye to his
vigilante vengeance, he takes his war to the organised crime families of
New York but in the process he creates an even more psychotic villain in
Jigsaw and an innocent gets caught up in the crossfire. With Frank questioning
his fight, the streets need him as Jigsaw plans to start a war with the
Punisher as the target. The storyline is, of course, an excuse for excessive
gun, knife and hand-to-hand combat but this is exactly what Punisher fans
will be looking for.
Following in the
footsteps of Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane, Ray Stevenson is perfectly
cast in the role of Frank Castle. Best known for his role in the HBO critically
acclaimed TV series 'Rome', the giant actor easily steps into the role of
the Punisher and quickly makes it his own. Looking like the personification
of the comic book illustrations, Stevenson is an imposing figure and one
that you could think that would take the fight to organised crime. 'The
Wire' star, British actor Dominic West dons and Italian/American accent
to become Billy Russoti, the up and coming mobster who the Punisher would
transform into the facially scared madman Jigsaw. While it is clear that
Stevenson was meant for this role, West struggles to make Jigsaw anything
more than a pantomime villain and one that makes the film not as good as
it could have been. In support, Colin Salmon is good as FBI agent turner
Punisher hunter Paul Budiansky, Dash Mihok is the police's only task force
representative Martin Soap and Julie Benz is good as the grieving wife of
the undercover FBI agent that Frank accidentally kills.
With German director
Lexi Alexander showing that she can handle the action with great skill and
a lead actor that really defines the role, this is the best screen version
of the Punisher fans have seen. While Dominic West's Jigsaw almost ruins
this, it is the action and the performance of Ray Stevenson that make this
a very watchable, adult comic book movie.
PICTURE & SOUND
The Blu-Ray disc presents the
movie in High Definition wide screen 2:30 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD
5.1 surround sound.
Commentary with director
Lexi Alexander and cinematographer Steve Gainer
The director and her cinematographer talk about the look and feel of their
interpretation of 'The Punisher'. The talk about creating a look for the
film, the fact that they only used three colours per set up and that they
wanted to create a comic book look without relying on computer generated
backgrounds. This is a good commentary from an up and coming director.
The Making of Punisher:
War Zone (9.02 mins/High Definition)
Director Lexi Alexander, producer Gale Ann Hurd, director of photography
Steve Gainer, co-producer Jack Murray and stars Ray Stevenson, Dominic
West, Julie Benz, Colin Salmon, Doug Hutchinson and Dash Mihok take you
behind the scenes of 'Punisher: War Zone'.
Training for the Punisher
(5.47 mins/High Definition)
Director Lexi Alexander, action sequence supervisor Pat Johnson and star
Ray Stevenson take you through the weapons and hand to hand combat training.
Weapons of the Punisher
(4.39 mins/High Definition)
Director Lexi Alexander, weapons supervisor Paul Barrette, military advisor
Jon Burton and star Ray Stevenson talk about the rifles, hand guns and
knives used by Frank Castle.
Meet Jigsaw (3.34 mins/High
Director Lexi Alexander, visual effects supervisor Robert Short and stars
Ray Stevenson, Julie Benz and Dominic West talk about the makeup FX for
Creating the look of the
Punisher (2.46 mins/High Definition)
Director Lexi Alexander, director of photography Steve Gainer, production
designer Andrew Neskorommy and costume designer Odette Gadairy talk about
the look of Frank Castle in the movie.
Previews of 'Terminator Salvation', 'The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3', 'The
International' and 'Quarantine'
The Blu-Ray treatment for 'Punisher:
War Zone' is one that fans should enjoy. The featurettes are generic but
cover most aspects of the films production. The commentary is good however
and it is one that fans will enjoy listening to.
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