Metascore
30

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 24
  2. Negative: 12 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    If most December movie releases are epic-length and Oscar-ambitious, then Punisher: War Zone has to be considered Hobbesian counterprogramming: It's nasty, brutish, and short.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    38
    The dialogue is beyond clichéd, and performances feel cobbled together from other movies.
  3. 30
    This awful sequel dispenses with any such pretense, its cartoonish characters running an endless gauntlet of hypergruesome violence.
  4. 20
    Does it have to be so witless, so stupid, so openly contemptuous of the very audience it’s supposed to be pandering to?
  5. 0
    With its dopey fight scenes, grimy look and goopy gore, this movie is so far from ept that inept is the wrong word. It's anti-ept.
  6. 0
    All Alexander proves in Punisher: War Movie is that a martial-arts-trained woman can make a film just as stupid, coarse and numbing as any muscle man.
  7. 25
    This is junk, a bunch of hard-R action scenes kept together by the thinnest of plots.
  8. Anyone with a modicum of good sense -- or a weak stomach -- will take it as a warning to stay the heck away from this literally and figuratively deadly "War Zone."
  9. There is no stylistic thrill to this blunt object of a callous action film. It's content to bludgeon the audience into numb resignation.
  10. So unrelentingly violent that all but teen boys might as well stay home.
  11. The acting is better than the script deserves and Lexi Alexander's cut-to-the-hearse direction lends the film considerable kick.
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    38
    A disappointingly schlocky effort that gives up on trying to make a realistic Punisher movie, settling instead on a hokey, multi-colored-neon gun rave best enjoyed in Rob Zombie's family room.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 45
  2. Negative: 10 out of 45
  1. Apr 29, 2013
    5
    Ray Stevenson and a few ridiculously funny scenes can't completely save this rather dull and forgettable movie. Although some poeple were not fond of the previous film, I found some interesting aspects that kept my interest. This is just cinematic chewing gum, quite enjoyable while its on but has no lasting impressions what-so-ever. I can only recommend this to die hard Punisher fans. Full Review »
  2. GeorgeM
    Mar 20, 2009
    5
    First, off...its better than the first attempt...but not by much. The first Punisher film (IMO) was horribly miscast and was totally lacking in substance and character...this version of the Punisher stays true to the brutality and "no nonsense" of the Punisher character himself...but its thrown in with some of the most over the top, gratuitous "action" ive ever seen in a movie...it will probably tickle your funny-bone more than it will raise your pulse. One thing they nailed was the casting of the Punisher...Ray Stevenson walks the walk and talks the talk...and has the "look" down to a T and unlike the first film, this movie has a Punisher that truly has NO problems dispatching the guilty without remorse (as the Punisher character should)...but the weak story tarnishes this. There is a story...its just not in the least bit interesting, which is fine, because i dont think this film was going for anything "thought worthy"...but more "balls to the wall". Dominic West plays a decent enough villain...and he plays the character well, seemingly having a good time being a slimy, tough talking mob boss...obsessed with his looks (his accent during some of the dialog gave me a HUGE chuckle). If you are looking for something action packed, story-less, and hammy then this will be your "cotton candy" for an evening...cant recommend as a buy however. Overall...its worth a look...if anything, just to watch something loud and dumb which is nice from time to time...but to also see a potentially cool Punisher character...and afterwards, you can wonder what wouldve have happened had they gotten it right...oh well. Recommened as a RENTAL Full Review »
  3. Aug 12, 2012
    3
    There's so much potential with a superhero film like this - a tormented, religious vigilante cleaning up city streets by any means necessary, no spandex, no mercy. This potential is largely wasted with Punisher: War Zone thanks to a woefully underwhelming script, a pedestrian and cliched plot and a general lack of passion. Ray Stevenson can do so much better than this (the excellent TV series Rome for instance) but is limited to glowering and reducing goons to pulp. Even if he's brutally killing evil thugs, Frank Castle needs to be somewhat relatable to be a compelling protagonist, and it takes more than pulling a sad face whenever the film flashes back to the tragic deaths of his family. The rest of the cast are a mix of the good and the bad. Dominic West's performance as scarred mob boss Jigsaw is hammy, and often comes across as a really bad Robert De Niro impression, and Colin Salmon plays the same character he plays in every film, another cool authority figure. At least Wayne Knight's backstreet armourer and Dash Mihok's sympathetic bumbling cop provide the film with some much-needed comic relief, and Stephanie Janusauskas acts everyone else off the screen as a little girl who is brought into Frank Castle's life because of a tragic accident. The film does have a pleasingly over-the-top and bloody final set piece where The Punisher shoots, explodes and stabs his way through a hotel full of heavily-armed gangsters and mercenaries. It really takes something for a film to attempt to be this dark and broody, and to come across as camp, but this film somehow manages it at an alarmingly frequent rate, and the big over-arching theme of the film, the failures of the American Justice system has been handled much better in nearly every other film that has tried to tackle it, even Law Abiding citizen, which wasn't a good movie. Punisher: War Zone is a missed opportunity in short. It's not awful thanks to a few laughs, a few thrills, and young Stephanie Janusauskas, but it's pretty bad. Full Review »