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If I see you anywhere near hell, I'll kick you out
The Punisher 2: War Zone (DVD)
Member Name: paulgood529
The Punisher 2: War Zone (DVD)
Advantages: great action, good story, well put together
Disadvantages: a bit too cheesy sometimes
Whenever people ask me "have you seen the Punisher sequel?" I always give the same answer "No - but mainly because there isn't one..."
I'll admit, it's a bit of a smart alec answer, however for me - and I'm sure as is for all comic book lovers out there - is an important one.
Before we start - for those that may be new to the Punisher thing - here's a very quick 'tutorial'. The Punisher, aka Frank castle, was an agent with the FBI. Now, depending on which comic/film you read/watch there are some differences but basically his family was killed by gangsters. In the comics, his daughter and wife were killed when they walk in on a Mafia execution in the woods whilst out for a picnic - in the first Punisher film, his whole family (distant relatives, aunts, uncles, parents - also son rather than daughter) who happened to be conveniently all vacationing in one location are killed. This was done by the writer to give the Punisher more 'reason' for the way he was - you know, just in case having your wife and daughter murdered wasn't enough...so, following this he becomes a vigilante (as he now has nothing to live for) and decides to bring down a) the Mafia members that killed his family and b) anyone else that's a little bit naughty and bring the justice to them that the law enforcement cant.
Now, if you were a fan of the first Punisher, or even weren't but thought you'd watch it before this one so it makes sense, my advise is don't. The Punisher and Punisher: War Zone (note it's not actually called Punisher 2 - only in some reviews, some stores etc. but not on the actual film, title or by the directors) are very different films, and there are reasons for that.
It was rumoured that Tom Jane (Punisher in the 'original' film) walked out on early productions or rejected the script because the directors had taken the Punisher away from what he stood for. However, it is not totally true.
The Punisher film was based on Marvel comics Punisher - the mercy bullet, only knocking people out cold almost 'cuddly' Punisher, which was basically kid friendly. But Marvel has another side, a darker side for the 'adult' comic lovers - and it's called Marvel Knights. In Marvel, the Punisher is calm, collected and thought out in his attacks - with Marvel Knights its kill now, ask questions later.
In just the opening scene you get this impression as you see The Punisher hanging upside down from a chandelier, twisting around shooting everyone he can, and also killing someone by putting the leg of a chair through their eye. Now, if you are like me, you will sit there and go "AAAAHHHHHH YEAH!". If not, you may find it slightly gruesome, either way one thing you can probably agree on - is the death scenes are not just awesome, but relatively funny.
If you have watched the other film, you will notice there are also changes in some of the back story - in Punisher: War Zone they have stuck to the comic history of Frank Castle's family and their death. But the premises stays the same, the Punisher is ultimately a good guy - and when he accidentally kills a undercover FBI agent in War Zone, you see a side to the Punisher you don't see when he is wielding his gun or fixing his broken nose with a pencil.
All the while he is off running around bringing down evil single handed, the policy force have a special 'department' for hunting down this unlawful vigilante and bringing him to justice - however, as I'm sure you can imagine this is taken about as seriously as the department ordered to bring down Batman.
Now, in this film - following a chase, one of Mafia members is pushed into a glass-recycling machine, and although he survives, is hideously scarred, especially around the face. Hence, 'Jigsaw' is born who, yes you guessed it, swears to bring down the Punisher. However, before he can do this, he wants to release his brother 'Loony Bin Jim' from the asylum and the go about recruiting a crew.
The film has the usual twists and turns that any action film of its type has - protect the girl, rescue the girl, beat the bad guy, and on and on - but it's the way its delivered. This film mixes comedy (although quite dark/twisted comedy I'll admit) and action perfectly. And Ray Stevenson, as the Punisher, delivers a good performance (although a little put off that he reminds me of Ricky Gervais and keep expecting him to shout "You having a laugh?!").
One thing I quite often judge a film on as well is the all too generally fated 'last line'. If you think about your top 10 favourite films, and think about the last line in that film - they are generally quite corny, cheesy or vomit worthy - however last line of this film will keep you laughing through the credits and closes the film pretty well.
My overall verdict is it is definitely worth a watch BUT don't in anyway be thinking of the first film, or watch it straight after IT WILL ruin the film for you - take it from someone who knows...
Summary: great action film - worth a watch