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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Superhero > Punisher: War Zone (2008/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

Punisher: War Zone (2008/Lionsgate Blu-ray)


Picture: B+ ††††Sound: A-††† Extras: B- †††Film: C



One of the biggest surprises of 2004 was Jonathan Hensleighís The Punisher, which finally gave fans of the franchise a film to be proud of, instead of hiding in shame at the slightest utter of the Dolph Lundgren disaster from 1989.You can read a more thorough review of the 2004 film from our DVD review here.


Just as pleased as were with how good that film was, itís amazing to see what a disappointment its follow-up Punisher: War Zone truly is.If you take all the things that made the 2004 film good such as the casting, the acting, the production, directing, music, and faithfulness to the comic and eliminate those you pretty much have a summary of the overly violent sequel, which replaces character development and storyline with unnecessarily violent action sequences.


Thomas Jane is not the only thing missing here; although his replacement Ray Stevenson embodies the role with a raw almost fully callus performance.The storyline picks up where the previous film left off, but is so inconsistent with its look and feel and leaves much to be desired even for diehard fans. This time The Punisher must fight more crime and hardened criminals including Jigsaw.Jane was originally set to reprise his role, maybe after he read the script he decided to abandon ship, which we can all agree after seeing this was a wise choice.


The Blu-ray on the other hand though is quite awesome, so if you are a fan of the film youíll certainly be getting one of the better films available to date in the format in terms of picture and sound are concerned.The film is shot in 2.35 X 1 and presented in a 1080p High Definition transfer that looks solid throughout, even the darkest scenes (and there are many) hold up incredibly well.Blacks are incredibly deep with great contrast and colors, while fairly muted, give the film itís raw texture.There is a slight amount of softness present in some scenes, but overall itís a relatively non-problematic transfer.


The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is perhaps one of the most aggressive that we have come across to date in the format with incredible amounts of activity throughout.The low-end presence is almost a non-stop threat while directional effects and other action-oriented effects are constantly swirling through all 7 channels.Explosions are fairly common and while DVD limits this with lossy mixes, the lossless DTS 7.1 mix here sounds fully detailed with insane force, fidelity, and spatial-ness.All of this brings forth a fully encompassing experience that feels lifelike and that alone makes it impressive.


The supplements are rather extensive with a commentary track, several interview segments with cast and crew, a featurette on the weapons used in the film, plus the MOLOG function, and trailers, there is also a second disc that contains the digital copy of the film.


I think the box office results really highlight how poor this film is and how fans reacted considering the $22,000,000 budget and the fact that is only made back about $7,000,000, which the 2004 film made almost twice that amount on itís opening weekend.Lionsgate undoubtedly wants to get some of that money back and this Blu-ray is certainly going to attract some attention, which might end up saving this flop after all.



-†† Nate Goss


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