Lionsgate | Release Date: December 5, 2008
6.1
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 143 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
76
Mixed:
33
Negative:
34
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3
MikeDeApr 13, 2009
I really wanted to like this movie but it was terrible. No plot line, the Punisher looked old as dirt and the acting was bad. Man, I thought this was going to be a good movie but I was disappointed. Aside from a couple of good violent scenes I really wanted to like this movie but it was terrible. No plot line, the Punisher looked old as dirt and the acting was bad. Man, I thought this was going to be a good movie but I was disappointed. Aside from a couple of good violent scenes a la chair leg to the eye of the bad guy, you should give this movie a miss. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
HalfwelshmanAug 12, 2012
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 woefullyThere'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 of 2 users found this helpful20
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3
Ven-WedeFeb 3, 2012
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.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
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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3
CooterPatooterMar 4, 2012
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 moreWar 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. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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2
ChadS.Dec 7, 2008
Grandmas die. In popular culture, usually from natural causes, but sometimes they get run over by reindeer. During its time, that Christmas novelty song, a Dr. Demento favorite, was considered to be in questionable taste. Babies and old Grandmas die. In popular culture, usually from natural causes, but sometimes they get run over by reindeer. During its time, that Christmas novelty song, a Dr. Demento favorite, was considered to be in questionable taste. Babies and old ladies, for the most part, are spared the spectacle of a grisly murder. But earlier this year, all bets were off, when a Nazi soldier shish-kabobed a crying baby in Spike Lee's "Miracle at St. Anna's", an aspect of German savagery that Steven Spielberg, and most filmmakers, wouldn't touch. Sure, the right people die in "Punisher: War Zone", gangsters and their ilk, as Frank Castle(Ray Stevenson) embodies every gamer who points and shoots at anything that moves. He flatters the gamer by rarely missing, while remaining impervious to the falling bodies. They're points, not people. "Punisher: War Zone" is yet another in a long line of movies that resemble video games. And just like a video game, a shooter game such as "Grand Theft Auto", for instance, there's going to be collateral damage. In an actual film, the audience, at least, goes through the motions of mourning the innocent victim. Not here, though. Not this new breed of video game-inspired quasi-films. While both video game and movie share the same objective of fighting for justice to prevail, the head of an old woman, bloodied and almost completely eviscerated, supplies the gamer with the cheap thrills he experiences when innocent people catch a bullet. In a film such as "Punisher: War Zone", a dead grandma is the gamer's idea of black comedy. It's supposed to be funny. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
asylumspadezNov 26, 2011
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.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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2
oliver1hJun 12, 2013
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 overThis 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... Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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2
Cinemassacre94Mar 20, 2016
Is it seriously that hard to make a decent Punisher movie? Really? The Marvel Comics anti-hero is pretty much simplicity itself: After watching the gangland murder of his family, Frank Castle goes nuts, dons a T-shirt with a skull on it, andIs it seriously that hard to make a decent Punisher movie? Really? The Marvel Comics anti-hero is pretty much simplicity itself: After watching the gangland murder of his family, Frank Castle goes nuts, dons a T-shirt with a skull on it, and kills every bad guy in sight. Figure out a way to throw in some decent action scenes, temper it with some hand-wringing about the cost of revenge, find the right unsmiling face to play the guy with the guns, add explosions. Bang. There's your movie. And yet Punisher: War Zone is the third attempt to bring the Punisher to the big screen—it follows two different movies called The Punisher, 1989's low-budget Dolph Lundgren effort, and a bigger-deal 2004 movie starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta. Neither of those films made good on the seemingly simple task of translating one of the comic-book world's simplest characters.

Punisher: War Zone at least trades up in Punishers. Rome's Ray Stevenson has the right mix of imposing bulk and sensitivity to look simultaneously hurt and pissed while blowing the brains out of bad guys. He's joined by another slumming former HBO star, The Wire's Dominic West, who spends most of the film sporting cut-rate deformo makeup as the bad guy.

Their presence doesn't suggest the class of this movie so much as the difficulty that cable actors have finding decent roles when their shows end; this is junk, a bunch of hard-R action scenes kept together by the thinnest of plots. Which would be fine if it were entertaining junk, but the parade of dimly lit skull explosions grows old quickly, and director Lexi Alexander (Green Street Hooligans) brings neither energy nor gravity to the over-the-top violence, which would feel excessive if the film knew the meaning of the word excess. It's a joyless plunge into gunfire that doesn't even know how to draw blood.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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1
JonB.Dec 11, 2008
Plot? No. Action? Yes. Terrible dialogue? Yes. Are those topics important to you? You decide.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
0
JKDec 9, 2008
Thanks hollywood for ruining what should have been a great movie... again. Will the punisher ever get a good film?
0 of 0 users found this helpful
0
MichaelRApr 9, 2009
God awful piece of garbage! If you like this movie, you have no taste for quality film.
0 of 0 users found this helpful