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View Poll Results: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"
"The Punisher" (2004) 22 73.33%
"Punisher: War Zone" 8 26.67%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 23 2009, 08:34 AM   #1
JacksonArcher
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"The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

So, I just rented The Punisher (2004) recently out of morbid curiosity after finally seeing Punisher: War Zone not that long ago. I saw the 2004 version when it came out in theaters with a good friend of mine who nearly walked out of the movie he was so annoyed with it. I, on the other hand, thought it was medicore, with some good acting and visuals, but nothing extraordinary.

I was kind of disappointed when I heard they would be rebooting the series so prematurely, in my opinion, and that Thomas Jane would not return. While I think The Punisher suffers from a lot of problems, mostly due to the subpar writing and predictability of the story, a sequel posed a lot of promise. I even dug the Western vibe the director was obviously going for.

Watching War Zone, I was half-expecting a more serious take on the character, in the vein of The Dark Knight or Blade, but I was surprised to see a lot of the goofier elements from The Punisher (which I thought was most of the concern) taken to a whole other level. Ray Stevenson is serviceable in the role, with a genuine sadness about him, but he doesn't quite have the charisma of Jane. Furthermore, the supporting cast isn't that well developed, and Jigsaw is just a laughably bad villain. It's honestly the type of film where you just shut off your brain, enjoy it for what it is, and nothing more. I also thought the lack of detail on showing Castle's family and what drove him to become The Punisher, besides a measly flashback, hurt Castle overall as a character in War Zone.

I guess by this post, one would assume I prefer The Punisher to Punisher: War Zone, and I do. However, War Zone is certainly entertaining, not without its flaws. I think I just liked the more serious, thoughtful take on the character (The Punisher) rather than the outlandish, cartoonish one (Punisher: War Zone).

What does everyone else think?
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Old July 23 2009, 08:59 AM   #2
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

Haven't seen War Zone, but bought it blindly since it was $10 on Blu-ray at Target this week. I hated the Thomas Jane version (the whole fire hydrant thing, the explosions that form a skull picture and the all-white slums pretty much sum up the movie for me), but I don't think the Dolph Lundgren version is any better.

You'd think Punisher would be easy to make a movie out of instead of being 0-for-3.
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Old July 23 2009, 09:01 AM   #3
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

Meh, I liked P:WZ much better than the 2004 version. I thought it was much more true to the Garth Ennis era Punisher mag.
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Old July 23 2009, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

Aragorn wrote: View Post
You'd think Punisher would be easy to make a movie out of instead of being 0-for-3.
I was thinking about that while re-watching The Punisher. He's a kind of affectless character, without any of the cool gadgets or operatic allure of Batman. He doesn't really have anything motivating him besides eternal punishment, but unlike Batman, who is really focused on saving Gotham, something external, The Punisher always seems to operate in an internal fashion, for self-interest, at least that's how it has been portrayed thus far. I mean, yeah, he's doing it for good reasons, but going about it very uninterestingly perhaps.
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Old July 23 2009, 02:45 PM   #5
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

While neither one is that great, War Zone is definitely more faithful and violent so it gets the nod.
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Old July 23 2009, 04:21 PM   #6
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

I fall into the War Zone camp. Its my preferred Punisher movie.

While the '04 Jane version isn't bad it just feels like it could be any other revenge flick movie. They just tweaked the script, tossed in some nods and slapped the skull shirt on the lead.

War Zone actually feels like a Punisher comic adaption movie. It is by NO means a great movie in the grand scheme it is however I feel the best Punisher movie. I agree with Jackson that I could've used more Frank 'family time'. This is the one element of Punishers story that could use some extending and the '04 version did try that I just feel it didn't work. At least they seemed to be in a park and captured the iconography of that big moment. Something the '04 Jane version butchered and lets face it that is as easy an origin to get right as any.

P:WZ also gave us a good Micro for this film, a character I always loved in the 90's comics. He was Franks sounding board and his more grounded conscious. Dissapointed that they killed him off in the movie, even they must've known the film was going to be a one and done.

P:WZ also gave us Franks really only recurring baddie in Jigsaw. All other comic movies have used an acutal rogues and Punisher really only has one unique to him, Jigsaw. Was he over the top, you bet but I still enjoyed it plenty.
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Old July 23 2009, 04:59 PM   #7
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

I have to go with the 2004 Punisher. I just thought it was the better movie.
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Old July 23 2009, 05:07 PM   #8
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

True what was said about the bad writing in Punisher movies. Disappointing as the Punisher is one of my more favorite "good" guys. I will agree that his style is bland, but that is the allure of the style. No flash, no glam, no anything that isn't needed for the mission. He is a single minded, twice broken man, that is unstoppable.

The Punisher is an excellent hand-to-hand Combat expert, not as good as Captan America, but on par with Bruce Wayne *debatable*, and clearly even with Spidey and Daredevil, as the Punisher has defeated them before.

His skill with firearms is outstanding. Unfortunately presented in a cartoonish fashion during War Zone, if handled correctly it could showcase his exceptional skill at accurate shooting. Not on the goofy level of Equillibrium, but Frank can and will exchange fire with multiple targets with pretty good accuracy and target recognition.

Frank has a great working knowledge of Mechanical Engineering, but a more street smart knowledge of such topic. Frank won't design a skyscrapper, but he will draw out a potential battle scenario to preset distractions in his favor, such as planting remote controlled IED/Grenades in certain locations, or trip wire down corridors.

Franks story is sad story. Revenge has consummed an honorable man, twisted and contorted a noble fighter. A typical soldier holds one thing dear, his family. A soldier is stripped down, flattened and remolded into a fighter, but his family is always the constant, always the teather. When that is so savagely removed, anyone can become A Punisher.
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Old July 23 2009, 05:28 PM   #9
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

I perfer War Zone over the 2004 version.
I found War Zone held more true in emotional aspects of the character.
Stevenson makes Frank Castle more real emotinally than Thomas Jane did.
The hard core violence of War Zone is also more true to the comics, as well as the nice touch by adding Det. Soap & Micro-Chip.
The actor that plays Jigsaw has never been much good at his craft, so I wasn't surprised at how bad he was. Loony Bin Jim made up for it.
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Old July 23 2009, 05:30 PM   #10
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

JacksonArcher wrote: View Post
Aragorn wrote: View Post
You'd think Punisher would be easy to make a movie out of instead of being 0-for-3.
I was thinking about that while re-watching The Punisher. He's a kind of affectless character, without any of the cool gadgets or operatic allure of Batman. He doesn't really have anything motivating him besides eternal punishment, but unlike Batman, who is really focused on saving Gotham, something external, The Punisher always seems to operate in an internal fashion, for self-interest, at least that's how it has been portrayed thus far. I mean, yeah, he's doing it for good reasons, but going about it very uninterestingly perhaps.
It wouldn't be much of a franchise (Death Wish made four sequels and look how that turned out), but you could make one effective revenge movie out of it.
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Old July 23 2009, 06:12 PM   #11
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

Put me in the "War Zone" camp. My "Punisher" knowledge is mostly restricted to early to mid 90's comics and guest appearances here and there, but he "War Zone" felt more like the comics I remembered. I also enjoyed the action a lot more, and using Micro was a great touch.

I didn't hate Jane's movie, I just wasn't particularly thrilled by it.
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Old July 23 2009, 06:14 PM   #12
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

JacksonArcher wrote: View Post
I think I just liked the more serious, thoughtful take on the character (The Punisher) rather than the outlandish, cartoonish one (Punisher: War Zone)
IMO, the more serious The Punisher is the sillier it gets.
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Old July 23 2009, 07:11 PM   #13
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

WarZone. I don't understand how hard it is to take a Garth Ennis Punisher and transport that over.
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Old July 23 2009, 08:04 PM   #14
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

funny how all the commentators say war zone, yet there's only 5 votes for it and 10 for Tom Jane's version.

haven't seen PWZ and probably won't bother. heard it sucked.

like the Tom Jane version.
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Old July 23 2009, 08:14 PM   #15
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Re: "The Punisher" (2004) v. "Punisher: War Zone"

War Zone was laughably bad, The Punisher was just bad.
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