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Punisher: War Zone (Two-Disc Special Edition)

4.0 out of 5 stars 436 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante-hero Frank Castle sets his sights on overeager mob boss Billy Russoti. After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengeance under his new alias: Jigsaw. With the "Punisher Task Force" hot on his trail and the FBI unable to take Jigsaw in, Frank must stand up to the formidable army that Jigsaw has recruited before more of his evil deeds go unpunished.

Punisher: War Zone cannot be adequately described as "over the top"--it's a relentless catalogue of brutal mayhem punctuated, here and there, with outrageous sentimentality. Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher (Ray Stevenson, Rome) has dedicated his life to killing the kind of gangsters who murdered his family. But when he unknowingly kills an undercover FBI agent, Castle falls into a crisis of conscience and decides to lay down his guns. Unfortunately, one of the last gangsters he thought he'd killed survived, albeit horribly disfigured, and seeks revenge on the wife and daughter of that slain FBI agent--so Castle has to go one last spree of vigilante justice! But this plot summary will not prepare you for the jolting violence of Punisher: War Zone; rarely do more than a few minutes go by without startling physical savagery, particularly to people's heads, which get blown apart with numbing frequency. This violence somehow goes hand in hand with dizzyingly saccharine moments when a young girl gazes at Castle with trusting eyes, knowing in her heart that he's the only one who can protect her. The dialogue goes beyond cliche into tough guy baroque. Stevenson underplays Castle to good effect, because everyone else in the movie--including Dominic West (The Wire), Doug Hutchison (The Green Mile), and Wayne Knight (Seinfeld)--chews the scenery like it's slathered with gravy. Some viewers will find this movie revolting; others will worship it like a golden calf. You probably know where you stand. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Wayne Knight, Colin Salmon, Julie Benz
  • Directors: Lexi Alexander
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (436 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001QB9H24
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,246 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Punisher: War Zone (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ken Fontenot VINE VOICE on March 19, 2009
Format: DVD
While I thoroughly enjoyed Thomas Jane's turn as Frank Castle in 2004's "The Punisher," a part of me wanted the title character to get just a bit nastier, a bit dirtier and a heck of a lot more violent. Enter Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo of "Rome"), a bigger, badder version of Frank Castle. Not only does Stevenson fully claim the role of the Punisher in "Punisher: War Zone," he dominates every scene he is in.

In "Punisher: War Zone," we are given a reboot of the Punisher's origin. Via brief (and well executed) flashbacks, the audience learns that Frank Castle has a huge chip on his shoulder since the murder of his family after they witness a mob hit. He declares a one man war against all criminals, from the lowest pickpocket to the toughest crime boss.

When he accidentally kills an undercover agent while dishing out swift and violent punishment, he decides to turn in his guns. However, newly crowned crime boss Billy "The Beaut" Russoti survives an attack from the Punisher (albeit with a severely disfigured face), and Castle is forced back on the job.

Russoti (who now goes by the name "Jigsaw") decides to murder the wife and daughter of the undercover agent that Castle accidentally killed. He goes to the local asylum and picks up his brother, James "Loony Bin Jim" Russoti and asks him to help him on his mission.

From there, the film is filled with brutal beatings, decapitations, a hint of cannibalism and Frank Castle violently eliminating any and every dirtbag in his way as he tries to stop Jigsaw and LBJ from killing the dead agent's family. It's not rocket science, but hunting down and killing bad guys is what the Punisher has always done, so I wasn't expecting some emotional tour de force from the film.
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Format: DVD
For anyone who ever read any Punisher comics growing up, or still are as adults, then they can attest that they are constantly full of violence, blood, guts and gore, and very light on comedy. Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and The Hulk CANNOT be compared to The Punisher in anyway, so if someone watches these other Marvel movies and likes them, then attempts to watch this newest Punisher movie expecting the same lighthearted cartoon violence and humor, then it would have been like going to the polls and actually thinking a vote for McCain would've meant something (oops, too soon?). Getting back on topic, out of the 3 actors who've starred as the title character, Ray Stevenson has looked the MOST like the Punisher during the War Zone story arc. He was big, gritty, gruff, and not clean shaven. He wasn't a pretty boy like Thomas Jane, and he wasn't some eastern bloc pinko like Dolph Lundgren (seriously, who the hell casted him?! Jesse Ventura would've even been a better choice!)

So in short, I'm giving this movie 5 stars, because as a true Punisher fan, this movie is the closest to the comics as any of the movies. The first movie was beyond pathetic. The second was good, in fact much of the plot taken directly out of Punisher comics, but way too much humor injected into it and not enough action. This movie has all the action, blood, and death, plus Jigsaw, The Punisher's arch-nemesis. OH, and by the way, Jigsaw has been around since the 1980s...he wasn't invented after the filming of the Saw movies, so if you think his name was ripped from other movies, well, you're an idiot.

So for those of you who also truly loved the Punisher back in the old days, watch this movie! And you'll know exactly what I mean when I say...until The Punisher throws away his guns and takes on an appeasement approach...MAKE MINE MARVEL!!!
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Format: Blu-ray
I'd give Punisher: War Zone 3.5 stars if I could, as it is definitely better than the 2004 treatment starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta, and stands as the most faithful screen treatment that good 'ol Frank has gotten yet. Ray Stevenson (HBO's Rome) stars as Frank Castle this time around, who after accidentally killing an undercover FBI agent during one of his latest bullet-ridden sprees, seeks to give up being the Punisher. However, hideously scarred mobster Jigsaw (The Wire's Dominic West) has different plans for Frank, including taking out the late fed's wife (Dexter's Julie Benz) and daughter (Stephanie Janusauskas). Directed by Lexi Alexander (Green Street Hooligans), Punisher: War Zone is ridiculously violent almost to the point of turning into a live-action cartoon, and still manages to retain most of the tone of Garth Ennis' excellent run on the comic. Stevenson is definitely the most physically imposing actor to play the Punisher, and is the best one above all as well. The rest of the acting however is almost comical, with West and Doug Hutchison, who plays Jigsaw's cannibal brother Loony Bin Jim, going so far over the top that you can't help but laugh. The film's dialogue and script don't help matters any, but the bloody action sequences are done well and are worth seeing the film for alone. Despite its flaws though, Punisher: War Zone still manages to be pretty entertaining, and is definitely the most satisfying adaptation that the character has received yet. Fans of Ennis' run on Punisher MAX and action-flick fans will find much to admire here, and in the end, that's really all that need apply here.
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