Punisher: War Zone (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) is like a one man task force against crime, driven by forces that few could ever understood and even fewer could endure. Castle’s wife and children were gunned down by mafia hitmen, leaving him in a wake of regret and total chaos. But Castle, a former Special Forces agent, wasn’t going to let the world of organized crime go unpunished, so he became a dark figure known as The Punisher. In his latest assault on the mob, Castle almost took out boss Billy Russoti (Dominic West), but the criminal narrowly escaped. In the confrontation, Russoti was disfigured and Castle unknowingly killed an undercover agent. Now Castle has to contend not only with the criminal underworld, but the FBI as well. With both sides hot on his trail, can even the Punisher survive such pressure?

This is the third Punisher movie, but we’ve yet to have an actual sequel. This is another reboot for the license, but was the third time the charm for Frank Castle? In truth, Punisher: War Zone is probably the most accurate take on the property to date, but it still fails to live up to the potential of the license. This is most evident when it comes to the writing, as dialogue, character development, and plot depth are all lackluster at best. Frank Castle is a complex character, but here he comes off as one dimensional and little time is spent on anyone else’s layers. Punisher: War Zone does have admirable action scenes however, which is where the bulk of the focus of the filmmakers was placed. The violence is piled on high, bloodshed is graphic, and the humor is quite dark. So no, this isn’t the definitive Punisher film we’ve wanted. I do think fans of the comic might want to give it a rental however, as well as fans of over the top violence and action.

Video: How does it look?

Punisher: War Zone is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is one impressive visual presentation. The film’s dark visuals come through well, with a lot of detail and accurate colors. The color design in Punisher: War Zone is an odd one, as few hues are ever on screen at once. This combined with the dark nature of the visuals could have created some issues, but this transfer never misses a beat. The colors are dead on and while dark, the contrast is smooth and rarely wavers. Overall depth is great also, so you’ll know you’re watching a high definition release.

Audio: How does it sound?

If you want explosive audio, this DTS HD 7.1 option supplies it and then some. This is a loud, over the top soundtrack, one that makes the action scenes simply burst out of the speakers. Whenever an action scene kicks in, the surrounds roar to life and deliver some of the most intense, effective presence I’ve heard to date. This will rattle your windows, shake your recliner, and piss off your neighbors, to be sure. But this isn’t just loud, as even calmer scenes have a great level of depth and presence. Simply put, this is about as good as it gets, just an awesome soundtrack. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles English and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

An audio commentary is available with director Lexi Alexander and cinematographer Steve Gainer, which proves to be a decent, if forgettable session. Some good information is found here, especially when the technical process is discussed, but there’s not nearly enough of that kind of content. A total of five featurettes are also here, but none reach ten minutes in duration and all are promotional in natural. This disc also includes the film’s theatrical trailer. A second disc houses a digital copy of the movie, to use on your portable device of choice.

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