Punisher War Zone

Rating: C

Everyone knows the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

The problem  with that is that it assumes that the lemons are of some level of quality that when you make the lemonade your customers won’t take the glass and smash it against your forehead screaming obscenities at you.

The screenplay for Punisher War Zone is essentially crappy lemons.  The screenwriters barely understand the character and understand less how to make him work in a feature length film.  I find this astounding and reprehensible considering the abundance of quality source material available that Marvel owns.  Steven Grant, Mike Baron and Garth Ennis are three writers who have successfully developed the character into who he is today.  All three of them are alive, and I suspect have operating telephones.

Instead, the writers of the film did what we saw all through the 80’s and 90’s.  They thought they knew better then the “lowly” comic book writers.  And as we saw all through the 80’s and 90’s, they were wrong.

Take for instance, the character of Jigsaw.  The writers insisted that they show his “origin” story (a waste of time) and make him out to be a third-rate Joker rip-off in the processes.  It felt like a “studio note” gone bad.

**ugh** I honestly can’t tell you how miserably terrible this script was.  It was like two dollar fishing line holding together what were some really great action sequences.

To that point, director Lexi Alexander is forced to do her best to salvage what she can – and she does a phenominal job at some intense action sequences and a number of emotional scenes.  But she’s got a lousy script from these hacks who got paid far too much money for what they gave her.

She does a great job showcasing the relationship between fathers and sons.  Brothers.  Daughters and fathers.  I’d love to see her direct a good script.

But like I said.  She’s got a pretty lousy script with this film.

I’ll talk about the curse of Punisher movies past in a future post, but for now let’s just say that the movie wasn’t all that great.

If you really want to see  The Punisher.  The Punisher that I and so many comic book readers love the hell out of.  Go to the source.  The Garth Ennis 8 year run is the place to start.  Marvel is going back and making beautiful Omnibus hardcover editions of his groundbreaking/character defining run.  Baracuda, Widowmaker and Valley Forge, Valley Forge in particular are highlights to the amazing eight years he invested in shaping the character of Frank Castle.

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