I am going to attempt to talk about this film without just yelling in caps lock the whole time, because that’s what this film makes me want to do. The first Punisher movie, starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta, wasn’t necessarily a complete failure, but, it was PG-13. A movie about a character known for his extreme brutality is rated PG-13? What the fuck? The character development and the actual plot was entertaining enough, but it definitely seemed a little too family friendly. Even though there were explosions, and one guy got stabbed under his chin and up into his head, it just needed a little bit more. Lucky for us, people realized that, and gave us Punisher: War Zone.
Ray Stevenson was way more brutal than Pretty Boy Jane. Just kidding, Thomas Jane, you were awesome in Deep Blue Sea!
Frank Castle’s family was killed because of organized crime, so the Vietnam veteran has snapped and decides he will punish every single criminal he can, usually in the most brutal ways possible. His enemy in this film? Billy the Beaut, who falls into a glass crushing device and becomes the disfigured villain Jigsaw. Frank has a sidekick who helps him acquire weapons as well as intel on the criminals, which, believe it or not, comes back to haunt him. Oh, there are also a bunch of parkour-loving bad guys that are constantly getting aggro all over the city, jumping around while heavy metal plays in the background. Long story short, Frank Castle kills EVERY MOTHER FUCKER HE SEES.
TAKING OUT COPS WITH JUST ONE HAND…SO FUCKING AGGRO.
Let’s talk for a moment about all the ways that people die in this movie. First person who dies on-screen? After cutting the power at a fancy dinner, the Punisher jumps onto the table, slams a road flare down, and STABS SOMEONE THROUGH THE TOP OF THEIR FUCKING HEAD. Remember those parkour guys I was talking about? They are jumping from rooftop to rooftop, trying to one-up each other. As one is flying through the air, we see a rocket heading towards him and BLOWS HIM THE FUCK UP. Who do we see then? THE PUNISHER WITH A FUCKING BAZOOKA. HE USED A GODDAMNED BAZOOKA TO KILL ONE PERSON. He then throws another parkour guy off the roof, and he gets impaled on a wrought iron fence…ouch. What’s worse? FRANK JUMPS OF THE BUILDING AND MANAGE TO KICK THE GUY IN THE FACE ON HIS WAY DOWN. Later on, we see Frank grab a wormy little henchmen by the collar, AND PUNCHES HIM SO GODDAMNED HARD IN THE FACE THAT THE WHOLE FUCKING THING CAVES IN. Later on, Frank whips open a door to see a fat bad guy sitting there, and the bad guy is all “OH FUCK” and then the Punisher SHOOTS HIM IN THE HEAD WITH TWO GUNS AT THE SAME EXACT MOMENT, CAUSING HIS HEAD TO EXPLODE.
Jigsaw and his brother Looney Bin Jim, also know as Eugene Tooms from some X Files episodes. The X Files are so awesome.
Hopefully you can get a sense of how much they cranked up the violence in this film, and for the better. Unfortunately, they were still playing catch-up to try to make up for the first film. The plot of this film is okay, at best, and they don’t really explain why Castle is so incredibly unbalanced. This movie definitely seemed to be a “Sorry guys!” to all the fans of comic books, but wasn’t quite as accessible to the average viewer. There were definitely some references that comic book fans would say “FUCK YEAH!” to, but didn’t really further the plot. They had a bigger role for Detective Soap, who is known in the comics for being the guy that helps Frank avoid the police and give him leads, but I still think some newcomers might have been confused. The final showdown also took place at the “Brad Street Motel”, which I had to explain to Rampaige and my friend Nate as to why that was so funny, with Tim Bradstreet being a major artist for Punisher comics for quite a few years now. If you like the comics, watch this movie, and if you don’t like the comics, watch it anyway, because the violence is so fucking insane and awesome. Or, just watch the Rated R trailer that I am going to post below.
Wolfman Moon Scale
No mention that comic book fanboys were too distracted with the aftershock of The Dark Knight during 2008 that they totally overlooked this film altogether? Just a hunch. I know very little of the comic this movie is based on but the violence drew me in for multiple viewings. Don’t forget the shotgun blast at point blank range that removed the top two-thirds of a bad guy’s head.
WHILE HE WAS HOLDING A BABY IN THE OTHER ARM