Punisher: War Zone (2008)

PWZ is not as effective as it could have been. The action is quite well done and is really fun to watch, but as if the film makers weren’t sure that’s enough they had to throw in a redemption story and other stuff that only detracts from what is the real appeal here. The Punisher is a modern Shadow variant, a vigilante who doesn’t give a rats ass for due process and kills first. If they had made a simple non-stop tour de force of the Punisher killing bad guys, this would have been great.

But instead the Punisher makes a mistake and kills an undercover FBI, becomes conscience-stricken and then the movie even throws in the family of the killed agent, which he has to save to get his redemption token (the wife tells him at the end that her killed husband thought he, the Punisher was one of the good guys). Urrgh. I expected him to get teary eyed.

That’s so wrong. The punisher isn’t one of the good guys, that’s the fucking point. He’s a revenge fantasy given flesh, a fundamentalist, a killing machine that can’t be appealed.

Another element I found really annoying was the over-the-top bad guys. I know they wanted to adapt some elements of the comics, but when you have a realistic narrative with dramatic elements (even if they were badly done) don’t try to mix that with black humor. It doesn’t work. They should have done one or the other, but not mixing both styles.