13 January 2008

Punisher: War Zone

Punisher IIIt was inevitable that there would be a sequel to The Punisher. I’ve accepted the fact that series don’t get quashed simply because I hate the first installment. The Punisher had so much potential and in my opinion it failed to deliver on all fronts. Punisher Re-Write/Treatment
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I’m trying not to set my hopes too high for the sequel but what I’ve learned to this point is encouraging. First off, nobody from the original cast or crew is back. Don’t worry true believers Stan Lee will still be executive producing with Avi Arad in tow. It’s just a given for Marvel Studios productions.

Lexi Alexander will be directing. She previously directed Green Street Hooligans. I was constantly bombarded with requests for this movie when I worked at a video store chain but it wasn’t stocked due to the brutal violence in the film. That is on the right track for a Punisher movie. A much better choice than a first-time director who wrote Jumanji. What were they thinking?!

The writing credits go to four individuals. This is normally a bad situation for a screenplay but their backgrounds seem strong. Matt Holloway and Art Marcum also wrote the Iron Man script (the first trailer appears to be true to the source and also looks wicked awesome). Nick Santora and Kurt Sutter have television backgrounds but thankfully on gritty shows like Prison Break and The Shield. Once again a seemingly better choice than the guy who wrote Jumanji. *Sigh*

Ray Stevenson replaces Tom Jane in the title role. I liked the casting of Tom Jane and prior to that I loved the casting of Dolph Lundgren in the original Punisher movie but good casting doesn’t make a good movie. This time around Ray Stevenson will hide a British accent (hopefully) to play The Punisher. Before anyone gets up in arms about a Brit playing an American comic book character I’ll refer you to the bizarre casting of Keanu Reeves as the classic British comic book character John Constantine.

Comic geeks have some reasons to cheer for this new installment early on. First off, the title Punisher: War Zone is lifted directly from one of the Punisher’s earlier series. Also, the Punisher’s sometime partner Microchip will be making his debut. Icing on the cake is the casting of Wayne Knight for this role. Other comic book characters to appear are the extremely unlucky Detective Martin Soap and the baddie Jigsaw.

It would be hard for Punisher: War Zone to be worse than the last movie. Hopefully this time around it is the characters on screen rather than the audience who receive the punishment.

Punisher: War Zone is set to release September 12, 2008.

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