Punisher: War Zone

According to those involved, the “re-imagining” of the Punisher will be much closer to the MAX line of comics, reflecting a style of “ruthless, ultra-violent vigilante justice.”  After witnessing the Punisher: War Zone panel, I can definitely agree that the movie will be violent, very violent.  I’m just still not sold on it being a good Punisher movie.

This incarnation of the popular Marvel hero moves him back to New York City, though his family does not get a reprieve.  Actor Ray Stevenson steps into the combat boots and skull shit for this go-round and he really came off as a nice guy, thrilled to play the character – and he definitely looks the part, in his own gruff way.  He described the character of anti-hero Frank Castle as in a “living hell” with “no light at the end of the tunnel.”

The panel debuted a new trailer for the flick which shared a lot with the old trailer, including long jumps, explosions, chandelier spinning  and the like.  It did, however, give us a lot of looks at the man we know and loathe as Jigsaw, portrayed by Dominic West.  I really dug on the appearance of Jigsaw.  He seemed to be played correctly by West and he looked ugly as sin – I like it.

After the trailer, I wasn’t sold on this film being any good, even with cutie Julie Benz joining the cast.  Right before the end of the session though, they whipped out a music video of sorts – a selection of the Punisher’s violent dealings with criminals set to “Days of Vengeance” by Ramallah.  This clip was very violent.  Very, very violent.  There were at least 3 bullet wounds to the face, tons and tons of shooting, several broken necks, lots of blood, some possible cannibalism, a shotgun to the face, an impaled body, and did I mention lots of shooting?  Unfortunately it also included chandelier spinning.

My opinion on this movie has improved somewhat, though I’m still convinced that it may pull off being a good, violent action film while failing at being an adequate Punisher film.  They spoke at length about the training and discipline that Frank (and Stevenson) goes through and that the Punisher is not a super hero, just a well trained, realistic killer.  The trailer doesn’t really support that, though, with Frank marching down a table in the middle of dinner or spinning on a chandelier  – they don’t teach that in ranger school.

This movie is up in the air for me, but with a slight positive vibe.  This time around we’ll see Microchip, Detective Marty Soap, and Paul Budiansky joining the cast in addition to the awesome looking violence.  My only real problem revolves around the unlikely things Frank is doing (jumping off rooftops, the oft repeated chandelier), when he’s supposed to be an awesomely efficient killer.  Punisher MAX Castle is big and somewhat slow, but strong as hell.  War Zone Castle seems fairly agile and prone to flourishes that are cool for action movies, but not for a Punisher flick.

On the bright side, violence, a New York setting, and Jigsaw.  The clips set to the music can be seen below:

Stay tuned all this week as we bring you coverage from Comic-Con International. Not only will we be roaming the floor in search of love, but we will have the latest news Live from Hall H, great interviews with some of Hollywood’s hottest stars and random convention shenanigans, courtesy of our Comic-Con Attack Squad! To keep tabs on all of the happenings, just head over to our Comic-Con 2008 Homepage.


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