Kudos to director Lexi Alexander for showing that a woman can direct a shoot ‘em up-cut ‘em up-snap his neck action flick just as good as any machismo-oozing male out there today. In just the first 10 minutes, there are nearly 30 kills, including one decapitation. And who are we kidding, that’s what you came for.
The hero is Frank Castle aka The Punisher (Ray Stevens, replacing Thomas Jane and Dolph Lundgren), Marvel’s resident vigilante in black. After his wife and two children are murdered after witnessing a mob hit, Castle vows to avenge their deaths by wiping out every last tough guy caricature in the city.
Enter the movie’s main villain, Billy “The Beaut” Russoti (Dominic West, “The Wire”), who Castle tosses into a machine intended more to break down glass bottles than comic book rogues. But it cuts him up pretty nicely anyhow. “From now on you call me Jigsaw,” he demands to his henchmen. Quite the sense of humor for someone who looks like a rejected extra from the “Thriller” video.
And so now Jigsaw wants his revenge, in addition to the money Castle stole from him to give to the widow and daughter of an undercover FBI agent he inadvertently killed at the recycling plant.
This all leads up to the big bad bloody finale, with Jigsaw’s few dozen recruits firing their semi-automatics aimlessly in an abandoned hotel while The Punisher slaughters--according to ReelzChannel.com critic Thomas Leupp--34 baddies, none of whom are familiar enough with comics to know what they signed up for.
Audio Commentary with Director Lexi Alexander and Director of Photography Steve Gainer: The duo offers a pretty basic track, serving up info on the casting, the visuals, and more that can also be found in the featurettes.
The Making of Punisher: War Zone (9:02): This standard promo piece features behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew, who share their goals and enthusiasm (Lexi Alexander calls the offer to direct “flattering”) for the project.
Meet Jigsaw (3:34) focuses on Dominic West’s villain, particularly the makeup and visual effects work.
Weapons of the Punisher (4:39): Obviously guns play a significant role in the action of The Punisher (there were over 125 kept on set at all times), so here is a look at all the Berettas and AK-47s you can handle. Also included is footage of Ray Stevenson’s training.
Training to Become the Punisher (5:47): Building upon the tail end of the previous featurette, this piece takes us to the “Punisher Training Camp,” where Stevenson learns to handle his firearms like a pro (nevermind the notable fumble) and partakes in hand-to-hand combat.
Creating the Look of Punisher: War Zone (2:46): DP Steve Gainer, production designer Andrew Neskoromny, costume designer Odette Gadoury, and others sit down for a brief look at the colors of a number of scenes.
The sole feature here is the Digital Copy.