Punisher sequel doesn’t live up to first movie


Frank Castle is back and still willing as ever to serve a cold plate of vengeance to the criminals of New York City. This blatant attempt of rebooting The Punisher, however, once again has come too soon.

Usually when a franchise revival occurs, the series has been out of commission for a while. This way people won’t get it confused with it being another sequel. Four years have passed since the last Punisher film and a lot has changed, most notably a new Frank Castle.

The film follows merciless vigilante Castle (Ray Stevenson) on his plight to violently punish the criminals of New York City, six years after his family was murdered. While out delivering his punishment on powerful mob boss Billy Russoti (Dominic West), Castle accidentally kills an undercover FBI agent. Russoti manages to escape the grips of Castle but his face is horribly disfigured in the fight. Now, with the help of his psychotic brother and all the gangs of New York City, Russoti plans to settle the score.

Although “Punisher: War Zone” will appeal to comic book fans, it does not make for a good movie. The 2004 version was much better. It had an interesting storyline and showed the audience the transformation of Castle becoming The Punisher.

“War Zone,” on the other hand, skipped the emotional story of Castle’s family being murdered and throws the viewer right into the middle of his war against the criminals of New York City.

As for being an interesting movie, “War Zone” fails. It does, however, succeed at being a gun-slinging, blood-filled movie with hard-hitting action. It’s relatable to Sylvester Stallone’s reboot of “Rambo” this year: senseless killing with little thought or remorse. This movie doesn’t present any interesting characters, story development or any mindblowing fight scenes.

However, the casting of Stevenson was a perfect fit as The Punisher.

His stern looks and demeanor make an ideal list of attributes for the stiff and self-loathing Frank Castle. All of the other actors were passable, just like their characters.

The 2004 revival of “The Punisher” was a much better film than its successor. It had more tasteful action, more emotion and was relatively enjoyable. The sequel, rebirth, reincarnation, whatever, of “Punisher: War Zone” is two hours of the most gruesome and bloody gun violence you’ll ever see, but with a dull storyline.

The viewer is the real one getting punished here.