Punisher: War Zone (2008)

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Frank Castle accidentally kills an undercover FBI agent when he storms a mob stronghold, leaving him torn between protecting the man’s family and hanging up his guns for good.

Punisher: Warzone is less a sequel than a reinvention of the previous film and as a whole it is a big improvement. Ray Stevenson is a much more intense Punisher, and his guilt over the agent’s death combined with his moral dilemma makes him a much more interesting character. The double act of Dominic West – dodgy accent notwithstanding – and Doug Hutchinson also make for much more interesting, larger than life villains and the action is far slicker and more exciting; in fact the whole film looks the part of a moody comic strip far more than the wishy-washy original. The tone although still consciously aping the Batman films is much closer to the mark but it is still a bit too gleeful in its representation of some pretty nasty violence and some of the humour feels a little inappropriate because of it.

As a whole, it’s not in the same league as The Dark Knight, but a hell of a lot better than Ghost Rider.

6/10

 

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