User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 114 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 114
  2. Negative: 28 out of 114
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  1. 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 TVThere'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. Expand
  2. Feb 3, 2012
    3
    For a film that is claiming to represent a 'war zone', its scenes are far too stilted, calculated, and formulaic. Stevenson unengagingly mopes around depressed for the time he isn't killing people, which makes for incredibly boring dialogue. Though, when the story is this cheesy and cliched it doesn't matter how it is delivered. That being said, the acting (particularly from Dominic West)For a film that is claiming to represent a 'war zone', its scenes are far too stilted, calculated, and formulaic. Stevenson unengagingly mopes around depressed for the time he isn't killing people, which makes for incredibly boring dialogue. Though, when the story is this cheesy and cliched it doesn't matter how it is delivered. That being said, the acting (particularly from Dominic West) is so campy that it contradicts the movie's attempt at a gritty noir-esque atmosphere. The one saviour for War Zone is its unapologetic ultraviolence, which is just too silly to be considered disgusting, and keeps the film from becoming too tiresome. Give this a pass unless you are particularly fond of the source material. Expand
  3. Mar 4, 2012
    3
    War Zone is like a bomb going off in your TV. Its a nerve-jangling cacophony of noise and flashing lights and splattering DNA that doesn't bother with anything resembling story. But strangely, I couldn't help feeling slightly more entertained than I did with the Thomas Jane outing.
  4. Nov 26, 2011
    2
    It went from the solid previous film that had good drama and interest to a pointless action packed film that was far too unrealistic. While Ray Stevenson is a good lead and a good choice for the punisher, The rest of the cast sucked.
  5. Jun 12, 2013
    2
    This movie was really punishing! It punished good taste, common sense, character development, pacing and acting in general. It really was a bad B movie, with every possible cliché you can think of. I can not recommend you this if you are over 15 years of age...
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: Luke Y. Thompson
    50
    The script isn't what matters here: This is a slasher movie with guns, and, uh, huh-huh, that's pretty cool.
  2. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    58
    Dominic West (The Wire) plays a facially mutilated Mob boss as if he's in a broad SNL sketch.
  3. So unrelentingly violent that all but teen boys might as well stay home.