This evening after work, Jenni and I decided to go out for a burger. We went to Coach’s, one of the few places left on the planet that will still reliably properly undercook a hamburger. As quaint as we are, we decided to rent a movie to watch at home after dinner. We don’t make it to the theater a whole lot for a multitude of reasons. There’s no gum or spilled soda on the living room floor, we don’t have to be fully dressed while watching, and the drinks are much cheaper and have more alcohol in them. So, Blockbuster gets more of our business than AMC. We don’t usually have the problem of a crying baby in our living room, and the random idiot talking loudly on the phone is extremely rare in our humble abode. Plus, there’s a magical ‘pause’ button for bathroom breaks, and I never feel bad about grabbing another drink.
So, we were at the rental place looking for a flick. My brother has told me that Iron Man is awesome, so I have been looking forward to seeing that one. I’ve also been curious about The Punisher. The former is rated PG13 and the latter is rated R, so we picked up The Punisher War Zone with the intent of reading more about Iron Man to see if it would be suitable to watch with our son at a later time. My lovely wife commented that she’s always up for a good action flick. I’m so sorry, Jennifer. I hope you can overcome the disappointment.
Hereafter, the movie shall be referred to as The Punishment, as nobody with a brain should be subjected to such torture. It was basically recycled bits of the original Batman and Batman Returns, but to trick you into thinking that you were seeing something original, they filled in the gaps with gore – and stupid gore at that! It was unoriginal, predictable, and campy – and not in a charming way. They really pulled out all the stops to make it as horrible a movie as possible. To call it a steaming pile is an insult to steaming piles in pastures around the world, and should not be tolerated. Granted, I never read the comics, but if you are a fan and it was an accurate representation, I’m terribly sorry, but you have no future.
First off, the firearms presentation was horrid. They pulled every cheesy, Hollywood firearms trick in the book. People would spin the cylinder on a double-action revolver which would return that ratcheting sound. Our ‘hero,’ Frank Castle carries a whole bunch of guns but seems to have an affinity for full-auto Berettas and Smith & Wesson X-frame revolvers. In one scene, a 9mm makes a .38-inch hole in someone’s head, and in the next scene, their head explodes in a spout of red liquid which is almost, but not quite entirely unlike blood. The two of us kept wondering when he would finally change magazines, as they all seemed to hold at least three times the ammunition that any of ours do. Of course, there was not a single example of good firearms handling in the movie, and bullets would ricochet off of the 1-inch bars that served as stairwell banisters as Frank Castle made his escape up the stairs. One bullet will kill an extra, but the ‘hero’ can absorb many and still fight on, albeit with a wince and a limp. In the final fight, Frank confronts an army of New York gangsters in an abandoned hotel with a full-auto AR fitted with a holographic sight, grenade launcher, and an evidently aesthetic compensator – even though a short-barreled shotgun would have been a far more appropriate weapon for the setting. Although there was what appeared to be a silencer on the rifle, its report was louder and sharper than any of his enemies’ guns – long or hand. They even went so far as to incite the mythical ‘gun-show loophole’ as a source for weapons for the vigilante. All this was humorous on the optimistic end, but more realistically, just plain sad.
Character development? What character development? We know that the villain, ‘Jigsaw’ became such because he was horribly disfigured by falling into a large container of something that would kill anyone else on the planet (much like the Joker). Jigsaw started life as ‘Bobby the Beaut’, an Italian-American pretty-boy, raised in a NYC mafia family. Our ‘hero’ put him in a glass-recycling tumbler and turned it on, which should have ground him up into kibble and pulp – but not Bobby, oh no! He was OK. Just scratched up.
Fortunately, and by his own declaration, he had ‘teh bestest’ plastic surgeon around! So, his doctor evidently had his five-year-old, retarded daughter put his face back together with carpet thread and staples. He was so mad about the faux-pas that he stabbed scissors through the hapless doctor’s skull. Then, he released his remarkably agile, but nuttier-than-a-squirrel-turd brother from the funny farm so they could go kill Frank Castle together. In the meantime, he had to go after the wife and child of the late, undercover agent that had been killed in their midst.
Oh, how the thick plottens!!!
Frank Castle feels a particular attachment to the widow and orphan, as they remind him of his own murdered family, and despite the fact that he killed the undercover agent (dad and husband) himself. So, the orphaned little girl attaches herself to him, the widow remains bitter and yet stable, and Frank goes on with his reservations and personal borders as he slaughters all the bad-guys in formulaic, Hollywood form. There’s a NYCPD employee whose been ‘helping’ Frank under the noses of the precinct for five years, and tracking the MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of gangsters executed in that time period. His name escapes me, but he’s kind of like Alfred with no balls. There’s a federal agent of some kind that was the partner of the dead undercover guy who comes around to Frank’s side at the very end and teams up with our Alfred. The partner has two faces – mad and really mad.
Then there’s ‘Micro’ Microchip, played by the guy that was Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park, the guy that comes up with all of Frank’s cool weapons between taking care of his invalid mother (who gets murdered as we eventually see her with half of her head erect in her chair as the whole head had been earlier in the movie). And then, there’s Micro’s buddy who is a rehabilitated gang-banger that is now in the upstanding position of aiding and abetting a murderous vigilante – which is sooooooo much better than being a petty thug (stay in school, kids). He’s got three scenes before the nuttier-than-a-squirrel-turd mafia brother kills him with an unfortunately-located axe.
Toward the end of the movie, Jenni said, “He’s going to make him choose whether to save either the wife and daughter OR his friend.” I was thinking it, and we were SO right!
Of course, Frank figured out a way to beat the bad-guys anyway. It was pretty stupid. Frank skewered Jigsaw with a conveniently-placed spear, and threw him on a conveniently-placed fire, where his eyes burned and he died. No, I’m not just saying that. It’s the way it happened. For the last twenty minutes of this movie, I couldn’t stop laughing, and it wasn’t an enjoyable laugh.
When the credits came on, the words, “That’s an hour and a half that we’ll never get back,” came from my mouth. We seriously could have stayed home, watched The SpongeBob Square Pants movie, and taken turns hitting each other with blunt objects and it would have been more entertaining.
According to this movie: New York City must have the loudest, juiciest gangsters on the planet, as their weapons-barraged bodies would ‘splut’ and ‘sploosh’ well above the sound of gunfire. Gangsters are divided into embarrassing, insulting, racial stereotypes – the blacks hold their pistols sideways, the asian ones wear their hair long and straight, and the Russians use AK47s and drink from fine crystal (all of them are tattooed). Not to mention the fact that they have nearly an endless supply of gangsters – until they are all suddenly dead. New York cops have to be the stupidest, most incompetent saps in the world as all they would have to do is find that guy walking in the open with all the guns and they would have caught their vigilante. The human body holds about 50-gallons of reddish syrup at 80-psi. When this system is ruptured, it spouts out like Old Faithful. You don’t have to go through a background check to get a machine gun at a Virginia gun show. Gangsters are so stupid that you can band them together or pit them against each other with great and equal ease.
Would I recommend this movie? Watching it will make you say, ‘Yeah, vengeance has a name, but what did I ever do to deserve THAT?” The disk label artwork is pretty cool, so it would make a great coaster in a pinch. Don’t bother watching it. If you are that hard up for entertainment, try poking at a bodily orifice with a sharp object long before giving this abomination a watch. Suffice it to say that I didn’t enjoy this motion picture.