Sep 292018

While hardly bad, Punisher: War Zone suffers mostly from a thin story and a tonal mismatch from the serious Punisher character versus the ever so cartoony villain and the campy performance from Dominic West.



Punisher: War Zone

Genre(s): Action, Drama
Lionsgate | R – 104 min. – $22.99 | September 25, 2018

Date Published: 09/29/2018 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Lexi Alexander
Writer(s): Nick Santora and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (written by)
Cast: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, Colin Salmon, Doug Hutchison, Dash Mihok, Wayne Knight
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.35
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 2.5/5

Plot Synopsis: Ex-Special Forces officer Frank Castle (RAY STEVENSON) is back with all guns blazing as The Punisher, this time waging a one-man war on two fronts. While targeting the vicious mob box, Billy Russoti (DOMINIC WEST), Castle horribly disfigures the gangster in a firefight that also claims the life of an undercover FBI agent, which endangers the agents’ wife (JULIE BENZ) and daughter. Seeking terrible vengeance, Russoti takes the name “Jigsaw: and begins recruiting the underworld’s most notorious criminals while the Feds from an anti-vigilante Strike Force… which only consists of two people: Detective Martin Soap (DASH MIHOK) and FBI agent Paul Budiansky (COLIN SALMON).

Quick Hit Review: After Thomas Jane turned down the chance to return to the role reportedly due to the script reading too much like a comic book, Lionsgate decided to reboot the franchise, casting Ray Stevenson and releasing this as the first feature film under the Marvel Knights label and was followed up by Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, what a legacy. But the film bombed at the box office taking in a mere $10.1 million worldwide from a $35 million budget.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of 2004’s The Punisher but enjoyed parts of it, mostly Thomas Jane’s portrayal as the violent vigilante. Although Punisher: War Zone does get some things right from the look of the movie and even the straight-from-the-comic casting of Ray Stevenson. On the other hand, the tone was split depending on what part of the story. For the Punisher parts, it is dark, gritty and mostly serious scenes and then we jump to the villain portions… and it’s downright goofy and cartoonish, in particular Dominic West’s ham-fisted performance and some really laughable prosthetics.



This release comes with a glossy slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Audio Commentary – Director Lexi Alexander and Cinematographer Steve Gainer

The Making of Punisher: War Zone (9:02) takes us behind-the-scenes with interview cut in by the cast (Stevenson) and crew (Director Lexi Alexander).

Meet Jigsaw (3:34) is a profile on the film’s cartoonish villain.

Weapons of The Punisher (4:39) breaks down the variety of weaponry at Castle’s disposal.

Training to Become The Punisher (5:47) looks at how actor Ray Stevenson got into shape for the role, in part training with the Marines.

Creating the Look of the Film (2:46) shows the process of re-creating the look from the comic book from the perspectives of the cinematographer, costume and production designers in keeping a three color palette.

Theatrical Trailer (1:08)


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Punisher: War Zone shoots out onto the 4K format presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p high-definition transfer. With the decision to make the aesthetics look more like the “Punisher” comic book, the colors do certainly pop off the screen courtesy of the HDR. Detail is incredibly sharp throughout be it either forefront or background elements and appears clean with no noticeable instances of artifacts, aliasing or banding and black levels also look great with a starkness to them. This is just an all around great looking transfer.

AUDIO – 5.0/5

As with The Punisher 4K, War Zone also got an ever-so-slight upgrade from DTS-HD MA 7.1 to Dolby Atmos. Although to me the difference was negligible, this was already an awesome sound track with amazing impact with every shot fired, crisp and clean dialogue, a strong LFE track, and just incredible depth for the front and rear speakers for the music/score and ambient noises.


OVERALL – 3.5/5

Overall, while hardly bad, Punisher: War Zone suffers mostly from a thin story and a tonal mismatch from the serious Punisher character versus the ever so cartoony villain and the campy performance from Dominic West. The 4K itself is well done with excellent video and audio transfers and a fine collection of bonus features.





The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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