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DVD review: Punisher War Zone two-disc special edition

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm •  Published: March 24, 2009

“Punisher War Zone” took a critical lambasting upon its release, and made less at the box office than its predecessor, 2004′s “Punisher.” The DVD came out recently, and comic-book fans who can handle some R-rated gore may realize that “War Zone” took more punishment than it deserved.

Lexi Alexander directed “War Zone.” She’s a former kickboxing champion who directed the Academy Award-nominated short film “Johnny Flynton.”

The Punisher is portrayed by Ray Stevenson, best-known for HBO’s “Rome.” He’s darker than the previous Punishers, Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane. The movie reveals its intentions in the first 10 minutes, as the Punisher busts into a mob meeting and brutally kills the attendees.

He then trails mobster Billy Russoti (Dominic West); in the melee Russoti’s face is disfigured, turning him to the villain Jigsaw. Their conflict is the focus of “War Zone,” which mixes relentless action with at-times corny dialogue.

In a lot of ways, “War Zone” resembles the 1980s action films that dominated when the Punisher was at his most popular as a comic-book character.

The filmmakers were aiming for a filmed version of the Punisher MAX comic-book series by writer Garth Ennis, and while it doesn’t quite have the depth of those stories, it’s as close of an adaptation as we’re likely to see.

- Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman


by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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