#MUFFApproved: Punisher: War Zone
Punisher: War Zone (2008)
dir. Lexi Alexander
"A woman can't direct an action film!" says the bloated Hollywood exec, feet up on the desk, crumbling cigar between his lips. I'm sure this 'parody' still echoes through the halls of the major film studios today, even as the A.C.L.U. has asked state and federal agencies to investigate Hollywood's hiring practices. In this midst of this discussion I always wonder to myself (loudly): HASN'T ANYONE SEEN PUNISHER: WAR ZONE!!?
There have been other films based on this Marvel Comics character, but I'm not going to talk about them, as they pale in comparison to Lexi Alexander's epically violent and neon saturated sadistic fever dream Punisher: War Zone. This woman has crafted an insanely destructive yet visually stunning true representation of the comic book character Frank Castle, a former soldier and cop whose family were massacred by the mob, thus giving birth to The Punisher. It's a simple action movie set up, emotionally devastated vigilante vs. the evils of organized crime.
What stands out here is that Alexander understands the character and makes no bones about it–The Punisher is NOT a hero. He lives out a miserable existence and gets no satisfaction from his "war." There's no time here for sympathy or redemption and instead we get an orchestral level of straight up bloody revenge for us to enjoy.
Basically, this film gives NO fucks and I love it. "Over the top" is where this film lives, a gleeful orgy of ridiculous violence to cheer and gasp at. Punisher: War Zone is a delirious vicious delight.
STEVEN LANDRY is a programmer for the Toronto After Dark and Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festivals. He's tall, bald, and has never had wisdom teeth. You can follow him here.
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