Punisher: War Zone

In the immortal words of Dr. Dre: “Never let me slip, ’cause if I slip, then I’m slipping”. While I may not be tripping with my non-existent Nina, I do feel that bar applies to me, because I haven’t had a new post in a while. I’ve been busy, catching up on Dexter in time for the new series, trying to get rid of some clothes and the like, and generally living life, I guess. I had no idea that this would be what would get me to start writing again though. Here it is.

As I previously mentioned, I just got around to watching season seven of Dexter. A superb season, as per usual, and one of the highlights was Ray Stevenson’s portrayal of Isaak Sirko. He comes off as effortlessly badass, and when I looked up his filmography and saw him as Frank Castle, I knew I had to grab it. Add to it Dominic “McNutty” West, and you’ve got a winning combination.

Out of all of the Marvel characters, the Punisher is one I’ve never really taken much interest in, I’d never watched any of the previous films, my only real interactions with him is in the PS2 game, which was awesome, of course, and Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Despite my lacking knowledge, I knew enough that this wouldn’t be the deepest of films – that said, this did blast past my expectations.

This is primarily due to Stevenson’s ability to convey emotion. When he’s supposed to be upset, you believe it. I learnt that from Sirko, and this has built upon that ability even further. Of course it’s mainly about the excessive violence, falling under the Marvel Knights banner, but there was more of a storyline that I had expected. I dunno, with this kind of film, I expected something akin to Machete, with non-stop violence, and, in honesty, probably would have preferred that. But it’s a moot point, Stevenson and his supporting cast, including the lovely Julie Benz, made the downtime enjoyable.

What’s a hero without an antagonist eh? Luckily, West came through as Jigsaw; the rest of his crew weren’t to the same standard, but he worked well. I had wondered how I could come to dislike the man who took part in one of the best television shows of all time, but he pulled it off, if only for an hour and a half. I would have thought he was too likable, but he showed his versatility here. Also, that accent was hilarious, bonus points for that. The transition from Billy the Beaut to this disfigured monster was good too, providing some of the highlights of the film.

Some of the violence was of course over the top – this was to be expected, but it kind of gave off a Hobo with a Shotgun vibe at parts. I’m not sure if that’s positive or negative to be honest. Oh, and the opening sequence reminded my greatly of little-known Christmas film Santa’s Slay. You have to watch this.

Although I said the film was more storyline-oriented than I had expected, that’s not to say it’s a deep tale or anything like that; it’s just coherent enough to keep it all together, and I suppose I should have expected that of a reboot. I would like to see a sequel, but after destroying every villain – and the five-odd years since the release – I guess that’s not going to happen. While it wasn’t an Oscar grabber (obviously), if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill, you could do much worse than this one. Give it a watch, despite the negative reviews, you may like it.

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