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DVD Review

DVD cover

War Zone


Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz and Colin Salmon
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 22 June 2009

Former FBI agent turned vigilante Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, wages his own one man war on the world of organised crime and the over-eager 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 most of his evil deeds go unpunished...

The Punisher: War Zone is the follow up to 2004's The Punisher. Thomas Jane's Frank Castle has been replaced by Ray Stevenson's take on the character. In fact Jane and the first movie's director, Jonathan Hensleigh, were originally set to be on board for this film - but quit after having creative differences with the studio.

Anyone expecting a film in a similar vein to the 2004 movie may be in for a bit of a shock. War Zone is more lighthearted, while still being ultra violent. It's also a lot more faithful to the original comic book series - with Detective Martin Soap and Microchip appearing.

This movie is very different in style to the first film, with War Zone being very much tongue in cheek. Dominic West's Jigsaw is as crazy as Batman's Joker while having an appearance not too dissimilar to Two Face - in fact their are quite a few similarities between the two comic book franchises. But, when coupled with the gore and violence, Jigsaw seems a little out of place. He is more fitting for a more family friendly film and his make-up is not nearly as gruesome as it could have been.

Extras include audio commentary with director Lexi Alexander and cinematographer Steve Gainer; The Making of Punisher: War Zone (8 min, 41 sec); Training for the Punisher (5 min, 33 sec look at Stevenson's combat training); Weapons of the Punisher (4 min, 29 sec); Meet Jigsaw (3 min, 27 sec); Creating the Look of The Punisher (2 min, 40 sec which explains how the movie was designed to look more like the comic books by only using three colours on each set); and trailers of other releases.

While this is far from being a great film, it does have a charm of its own - with some pretty solid performances. It's certainly one for a mindless night in.


Nick Smithson

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