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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Punisher: War Zone’

Take a break from work: watch a movie trailer…

Fair warning: This one doesn’t have a visible redband, but it must be R-rated for the graphic violence in it.


Oh my. This looks like one of those trailers for non-English-language films where they try to disguise the fact that it’s subtitled by simply not showing us any scenes of dialogue at all. Fans of this one, though, would probably love for it to be all asskicking and heads exploding and no talking at all. Good lord, what a preverbal assault on the senses assemblage of brutality and bloodshed this trailer is! I’m not sure any movie should be promising this level of carnage, because won’t all the Spike-ified boys who turn out to see the film based on this trailer be disappointed when it’s not as ferocious as this? No movie could sustain that for 90 minutes.

Astonishingly, director Lexi Alexander has actually been nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short, but I guess a gal’s gotta take work where she can get it. Perhaps it was her status as a former World Karate and Kickboxing champion that was deemed to be of value in this case.

I’m surprised they bothered with a sequel, frankly: the first Punisher flick not only sucked, it just barely earned back its production costs; when you add in what it cost to market, it will have been lucky to have broken even worldwide. And without its star, Thomas Jane, from first time around, and a relative no-name replacement — Ray Stevenson — shouldn’t any sequel have been destined to go directly to DVD?

Nevertheless, Punisher: War Zone opens wide in the U.S. on December 5; no U.K. release date has been announced yet.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • JoshDM

    Based on the very quick picnic flashback, this is no true sequel, but likely a Hulk-esque reboot.

    If anything, this guy looks a heck of a lot more like Frank Castle than Thomas Jane.

  • Nathan

    Ray Stevenson will always be Titus Pullo to me…

    Dominic West would have made a good Punisher but it looks like they cast him as Jigsaw instead.

  • MBI

    Goddamn was the first Punisher a great movie. Until “The Dark Knight,” it was by far the darkest superhero ever made.

  • blake

    I gotta admit, I do have a soft spot for The Punisher. But this sequel looks kak!

  • JoshDM

    I did appreciate the Thomas Jane Punisher movie, with sequences taken verbatim from the Garth Ennis iteration of the comic book character (the sequences with The Russian, and his wacky neighbors).

  • Jurgan

    Time out: when people say “the first Punisher” or things like that, are they talking about the Thomas Jane movie or the infamous Dolph Lundgren cult classic? Just curious.

    This movie looked like it might have some promise. Mind, I’m not a fan of the character in the first place. It’s nothing specific, I just generally can’t stand “heroes” who murder their enemies in cold blood and don’t really prove themselves to be better people than their enemies. But this new one looks a little more in tune with the idea that the Punisher is pretty close to insane and is only a hero because his enemies are so incredibly evil and grotesque. Maybe I’m imagining it, but it might be a step back from the outright justification of vigilantism that’s become all too common recently (see Maryann’s review of Man on Fire).

  • JoshDM

    Most people referring to the “First Punisher” movie are likely referring to the Thomas Jane version, as anyone who would even know about the Dolph Lundgren movie would know to refer to them as the “*title actor* Punisher movie”.

    Meaning: most people do not know there was a Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie and therefore refer to the Thomas Jane movie as “the first” by default.

    Hence, exactly why my prior post states “Thomas Jane Punisher”.

  • JoshDM

    In other words, sort of like how if someone mentioned “the first Fantastic Four movie”, they’re probably referring to the abysmal 2005 film, and not the unreleased 1994 Roger Corman failure.

  • Hdj

    Dolph Lundgren as the Punisher wasn’t so bad, there was A total of 91 on screen kills , see * http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098141/trivia

    Rambo only averages a total of 50 kills in his movies but if you combine all 4 your have around 400

    I’m Psyched for this being a Punisher fan.

  • Shadowen

    I’m not defending it as being a potentially good movie, Maryann, but you should know that the Punisher is a character who once killed almost seventy criminals in a single night after he got pissed off. More pissed off than normal, I mean.

    Imagine all of Batman’s determination and psychosis without the prohibition against killing bad guys.

    (Given the sheer number of people he’s killed, and the numbers of lifelong criminals there are even in a big city like New York–where there are already how many superheroes, many of which make time to beat up non-super-criminals, in the Marvel Universe?–I’m surprised there are any criminals left in New York *state* at all. But ya gotta move comic books, so…)

  • Hdj

    Oh yeah and its not a sequel, its like what they did with the last Hulk movie, its the forget about the last movie but lets jump in on the action move so they dont get stuck in some rut of doing origin movies over and over.

    And yeah Punisher’s the real anti Hero hes no non sense, theres no going to jail its just your bad, your done . And another thing Batmans just a playboy, he really is, same thing with Ironman they’re both just rich super punks with enough money to use it against crime.
    Theres so many newbie,born again, reformed Batman fans being risen its ridiculous.

  • Ed

    Ummm yeah this is not a sequel in any way, shape, or form.

  • MaryAnn

    there was A total of 91 on screen kills

    It disturbs me that someone is counting.

  • Jurgan

    “Rambo only averages a total of 50 kills in his movies but if you combine all 4 your have around 400”

    Hang on, what? Am I the only one who saw this (maybe- it took me two reads to notice)? If he averages 50 kills per movie, and he has 4 movies, then his total would be 200. If his total is 400, then his average is 100 per movie.

    I don’t find disturbing that people count, but it is rather strange that people use body counts as a measure of quality (correct me if I’m wrong, hdj, but that is what you were doing, right?). Anyway, I don’t much care how many people Rambo kills, but I couldn’t let such a major math mistake go by.

  • Hdj

    Jurgans Theres a total of 50 individual on screen kills in the Rambo movies thats not counting kills in groups like from explosions or some sorta fire bomb ect. According to Moviebodycounts.com Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, has 836, but like I was saying most of those kills are in one shot large quantity battle kills. Which isn’t as up close and personal as an Individual kill.

  • MaryAnn

    And it pleases you, Hdj, to see “up close and personal kills”?

  • hdj

    not at all Maryann, No violence pleases me, that would be wrong if it did, but the truth is I want a certain redemption , the kinda redemption that would make Charles Bronson proud.

  • Bugs

    First things first: Comparing the Ed Norton Hulk to Ang Lee’s??? Please. The first Hulk still rules. He goes up against the Army, for Pete sakes; what more do you want?
    To the matter at hand:
    Thomas Jane is a fine actor. But he’s not Frank Castle. And that’s it. Nothing wrong with loving Jane, but true fans know that Stevenson is MUCH closer to the character just by the trailers than Jane could have been in three more films.
    The 2004 Punisher was terrible. Awful. A slap in the face to Punisher fans. He lost more FAMILY members at his BBQ than he killed during the whole movie. Losing his wife and kids wasn’t enough to cinematically express his sociopathic rage? Whaa..?
    The Lundgren movie was slightly better. Better fight choreography, better bad guys. Lesser acting. But at least Dolph kicked some ass.
    I think Jane’s total body count was 8.
    Counted about 35 in the Stevenson TRAILER.
    I’m in.
    Yes, Castle IS insane. That’s the whole point. He ISN’T a hero. He kills criminals because he HATES them. That’s it. Not a very complex individual…if you disregard his homicidal oath to eradicate the guilty of course.
    Just methodical, strategic and merciless execution.
    Oh, and did you know he’s a green beret?
    Yeah, he’s pretty good with weapons too.
    Good wholesome fun; I can’t wait!

  • MaryAnn

    Wholesome?

  • Riddler

    MaryAnn do you answer questions with questions as well ?

  • MaryAnn

    That rather depends on the question, don’t you think?

  • Mike

    This trailer gave me a boner.

    Too bad it wasn’t attached to Twilight.

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