Punisher: War Zone (2008)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Blatantly unapologetic gory comic book action

Never have cared much about the Punisher

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Punisher:  War Zone

Studio:  Marvel Knights

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 5, 2008

MPAA Rating:  R


I’ll light up your life

Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) is continuing his war on crime as the Punisher.  When he accidentally kills an undercover FBI agent, Frank finds himself loaded with guilt and feeling responsible for the wife Angela Donatelli (Julie Benz) and daughter Grace (Stephanie Janusauskas).  Billy Russoti (Dominic West) finds himself disfigured by the Punisher, he targets the Donatellis and the Punisher for revenge.  As Paul Budiansky (Colin Salmon) pursues the Punisher with the Punisher SWAT team lead by Agent Soap (Dash Mihok), the Punisher is after Jigsaw…but Frank’s mission is putting everyone around him in danger.

Directed by Lexi Alexander, Punisher:  War Zone is third Punisher film and unrelated to the previous two entries.  The Marvel Comics movie was met with criticism and was the worst outings for a Marvel Comics movie released to theaters.

The movie was met with lots of problems.  It was originally intended as a sequel to the 2004 film The Punisher, but the parties involved in the film dropped out over creative differences.  Despite this, of the versions of the Punisher that have gone to film, I enjoyed Punisher:  War Zone the most out of the Punisher films.  Always a problematic character with me, Punisher:  War Zone felt like a comic book movie and that was a step up.


I’ve felt better.

I have never loved the Punisher.  I didn’t mind him as a guest star in certain comics, but I felt that the character who pretty much wielded guns and shot drug dealers was a one-trick pony that was less interesting than Bronson’s character in Death Wish.  Here, you get Frank Castle at his basic level with the only real equivalent of a supervillain with Jigsaw.  The movie was criticized for being too cartoony, but I think it is what the franchise needed.

I also commend the use of Ray Stevenson as the Punisher.  I enjoyed is role in Rome (but hated him in Thor).  He’s big, powerful, and actually seems threatening…something I don’t think Thomas Jane pulled off.  Dominic West is fun as the crazed Jigsaw, but pretty over the top.  I never liked the Soap character and still don’t like him here but Colin Salmon is ok as Dash Mihok’s forced partner.  I do think Wayne Knight was a decent choice for Microchip (but much like the Punisher, I never liked him).


I’m gunning for you!

The movie is sufficiently violent despite a sometime humorous tone to the violence.  Things like Frank blowing up a freerunner and using the body of another one to break his jump from a rooftop gets a laugh and fits with the character…I liked that instead of hated it like many fans.

Punisher:  War Zone isn’t a good movie but it is better than the previous films.  I can’t see the movie getting any better due to my opinion on the character, but I could see the Punisher being a guest star in another Marvel movie or one of the new TV series…I just hope his films are done.

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Related Links:

The Punisher (1989)

The Punisher (2004)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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