Reviewed by: Ryan Callaway
About murder in the Bible
VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer
Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?
What kind of world would you create? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn't this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
|Featuring:||Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchison, Colin Salmon, Wayne Knight, Dash Mihok, Julie Benz, Stephanie Janusauskas, Mark Camacho, Romano Orzari, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Larry Day, Ron Lea, Tony Calabretta, T.J. Storm, Carlos Gonzalez-vlo, David Vadim, John Dunn-Hill, Niko Nikolov, Aubert Pallascio, Francis B. Goldberg, Pat Fry, Robert Harrop, Linda Smith, Lynne De Bel, Bill Hall, Matt Holland, Bjanka Murgel, Brent Skagford, James Murray, Cas Anvar, Ethan Gould, Michael Paterson, Kane Chan, Steven P. Park, Edward Yankie, Tracy Phillips, Giovanni Cipolla, Andrew Farmer, Jean-Loup Yale, Miro Bedard, Edouard Keller, Marco Desjean, Lise Sita, Nick Sita, Oleg Popkov, Eric Dauphin, Stéphane Byl, Jon Barton|
|Producer:||Lions Gate Films, MHF Zweite Academy Film, Marvel Enterprises, Media Magik Entertainment, Red Corner Productions, Valhalla Motion Pictures, Avi Arad, Kevin Feige, Ogden Gavanski, Oliver Hengst, Gale Anne Hurd, Bill Johnson, Stan Lee, Jack L. Murray, Michael Paseornek, John Sacchi, Wolfgang Schamburg, Ernst-August Schnieder, Gary Ventimiglia|
Based on a comic book character by Marvel Entertainment
“Vengeance has a name.”
“Punisher: Warzone” is the second reboot of the franchise starring Ray Stevenson as The Punisher. Although I enjoyed the other two films, I do believe that his portrayal was the best by far. The movie opens with him interrupting a dinner attended by a mob family and killing everyone in sight. Of course, he does it in style, as we'd expect from Frank Castle, hanging upside down on a chandelier, shooting with two automatic weapons. His night shift doesn't end there, as he then pursues Billy Russoti, played by Dominic West, and his accomplices. He again kills everyone, except Billy, who he feeds into a glass recycling machine. As he is leaving, Frank discovers a wire on one of the men he shot, and realizes that he is an undercover agent.
Although he mercilessly slaughters over a hundred criminals in the film, Frank Castle's humanity has not been lost. He is deeply sorrowful about his mistake, and especially after he learns that the agent he shot left behind a wife, Angela, played by Julie Benz, and a young daughter—interestingly enough—named Grace. Ray Stevenson is a talented actor as he convincingly demonstrates Frank's inner turmoil. His guilt drives him to attempt to right the wrongs by giving money to Angela's daughter. Angela intervenes, and when she realizes who he is, she threatens to shoot him. Frank actually helps her point the gun at himself and tells her to do it. This clearly shows that Frank intends to keep killing until he himself is killed. Angela, after deliberation, cannot do it and tells him to leave.
Frank decides that his one respite is to quit and leave town for good. His side-kick and arms supplier Micro, argues with him that he is still needed. Wayne Knight does an excellent job in portraying this character, and brings some much needed levity to the film. Micro tells Frank that in war, casualties happen, and mistakes are made. Frank still, resolves to leave.
Meanwhile, we find out that Billy survived the glass recycling machine, though he is horribly mangled, and now goes under the moniker of Jigsaw—a name that fits his new visage. He breaks his brother, Loony Bin Jim, out of the mental institution where he's held, and the two determine to kill Frank Castle once and for all. Once Billy finds out that an undercover agent was involved in the operation, he targets Angela and Grace as well. Micro, letting Frank know that their lives may be in danger, convinces him to stay to protect them.
I liked “Punisher: Warzone” far more than I expected. From the trailers I knew it would be an overly violent film, but hoped there were some redeeming qualities. One aspect that I enjoyed was Frank's relationship with Grace. His own daughters were murdered years before, which began his war on crime, and he becomes something of a father figure to her as the movies goes on. Their exchanges are touching, and even Angela eventually warms up to Frank, although there is no romantic storyline. Which is more realistic and for the better.
Another part of the movie I found interesting, was that the heroes were of a religious background, while the villains were decidedly not. Before the death of his wife and children, we learn that Frank was once in seminary studying to become a priest. One scene takes place with him going to a Catholic Church and sitting in the pews to pray or contemplate. He is joined by a priest he once knew, and shortly afterward a cop who is hunting the vigilante throughout the film. It is during this conversation that the priest says, “God be with you Frank,” and Frank responds, “Sometimes I'd like to get my hands on God.”
In the trailer, I was highly offended by this line, but in the context of the conversation it makes sense. They are the words of a desperate and, at times, depressed man. Not excusable, but understandable.
We all know what would happen if Frank or any human got near God outside of His grace. The cop later tells Frank he didn't know he was a religious man. He then says, “I believe they were called the Ten Commandments not the Ten Suggestions,” of course, hinting at Frank's multiple offenses of Number 6. This could lead to interesting discussions on the difference between murder and killing in the Hebrew language. Frank, however, would be guilty of both by this point.
The villains in the film, showed their atheism very clearly. Jigsaw questions Angela about something at one point, and she says, “I swear to God.” He then turns to little Grace and asks, “Would you like to swear on an imaginary friend too?” I was bothered by this initially, but again, in context of the film I thought it was fitting. He is a villain after all—why wouldn't he deny the existence of the God he will answer to one day? It is noteworthy that toward the end of the film, Frank sets someone on fire and while watching him burn, says, “This is just the beginning.” An obvious reference to that person's eternity.
There is also an instance where one of the good guys who is dying, tells Frank that he will see him in hell. Frank says, “If I see you anywhere near that place I'll kicked your (butt) out of there.” Frank's compassion on the “innocent,” and his swift judgment of the guilty, I think is interesting. In one way it can show us how God can be so loving and SO good, much more merciful and kind than any human—yet send the unrepentant to a horrible place like hell. So in that, I do think the film brings up some great spiritual topics.
For the moral rating, I'd say no one under 17 or 18 should see “Punisher: Warzone.” There are more F-words than I could keep up with, some blasphemy, and graphic violence from beginning to end. To name a few, and please don't read the rest of this paragraph if you are younger, or easily offended. A character picks up a wooden chair as a weapon and Punisher kicks it back into the person's face, sending one leg into his eye. Loony Bin Jim tackles an employee at the mental institution behind a desk, and pulls his insides out. We don't see that, but the employee's screams and the sound effects are bad enough. The camera does show Jim EATING some of the insides. Multiple people are shot—close to a hundred. Several are stabbed. One has his throat cut open in a gruesome fashion. Another is cut into pieces with an axe and lives anyway. One unfortunate bad guy has his skull literally punched in. There is more, but that is pretty much the worst of it all. This is a violent film. If you are offended by violence, or have a weak stomach, don't see it. Even I wanted to turn my head a few times.
Overall, I'd say if you enjoy action movies and can stomach the violence, you may enjoy “Punisher: Warzone” for its positive elements. I'm not sure if I could recommend it to any Christian, however. If you already planned on seeing the movie, now you know what you're in for. Personally I don't think it's sinful to see violent movies, as violence is a part of our existence and even the Bible contains it. The problem comes in when we glorify violence, and no one should go to see this movie because they want to view the gore. The story is compelling, the acting is well done, for the most part, and Punisher to me was a decent hero. I found myself at times hoping he would show up in time to save the day. Fortunately, he almost always did.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.