Archive for Marvel

Punisher: War Zone (2008) Review

Posted in Punisher: War Zone with tags , , , on August 13, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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PUNISHER: WAR ZONE

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Vengeance Has a Name.

Release Date- December 5th, 2008

Running Time- 103-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Nick Santora, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway

Director- Lexi Alexander

Starring- Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchison, Colin Salmon with Wayne Knight and Julie Benz

When it comes to modern films I have a dislike for action films as I find them too overly stylized in terms of shot selection and editing and for every action film I like I have 5 I dislike. It’s gotten to the point to where now I skip out on most and while I’m sure I missed out on some good ones I also know I missed out on some that’ll make me wanna rip my hair out. But every so often an action film comes along and gets it right and Punisher: War Zone is one of those films. Lets make no mistake about it, War Zone is far from a great film and when ranking my favorites of the genre this film wouldn’t be anywhere in sight, which isn’t a knock on this at all. I think the best way to describe this film is a modern day film that if made in the 80s would be something we’d see from the Cannon Group. Punisher: War Zone is a no holds barred balls to the wall action film, filled with insanely over the top graphic violence. War Zone is very much a comic book film and while it can be a little campy I wouldn’t label it camp. It’s just over the top in the style of again the Cannon Group like say Death Wish 3 or Death Wish 4.

The Punisher series for some reason just hasn’t been able to find success as the 1989 version had a couple of theatrical releases in certain countries, but went DTV in the States as well as other countries. The 2004 version did well enough for a sequel to get the green-light, but even that film was far below what other comic book films pulled in before and after. However with some production troubles from script re-writes and than Thomas Jane who played Frank Castle in the 04 version dropping out, it was than decided for another reboot of the series. I was a little disappointed in a reboot and more so by Tom Jane dropping out, but that disappointment was quickly put a side in the opening scene and even though I very much liked Tom Jane in the title role (Dolph Lundgren as well) Ray Stevenson was every bit as good and perhaps make for the best Frank Castle yet. But to be honest all 3 actors each have a quality that a case could be made for any. As I mentioned the 89 version failed to do much business though has become a cult favorite and while the 04 version was profitable enough for another version it wasn’t a massive hit. War Zone however was a complete bust in the box office and while I understand why certain franchises like Batman or Spider-Man make more money and all also they’re huge Hollywood films, but I don’t understand why the Punisher series weren’t more profitable.

After the murder of his family, Frank Castle (Stevenson) becomes a vigilante and begins killing off various mob families. But he accidentally kills an undercover agent and feeling remorse he considers stopping his vigilante ways. But when the ruthless mobster Jigsaw (West) targets the agents wife and daughter, Castle sets out to keep them safe.

The screenplay by Nick Santora, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway is a lot of fun and while it isn’t exactly the Dark Knight in terms of writing its simply a fun mindless action film. While characters might lack depth they are entertaining in particular Jigsaw who is very much written as a comic book villain. Like the 89 version we don’t get a lot of the origin on Frank, but the little we get works a bit better than the 89 version, but I would have liked a little more detail if only to fully grasp Frank’s pain, but seeing as his wife and children were murdered I suppose it plays out fine as it is. But I do feel a little more could have been done, but regardless of the fact the script is a fun action packed ride and it really isn’t meant to be anything more than that.

Director Lexi Alexander delivers a fun and well paced action packed film. Most of the big action sequences are in the opening and closing act, but there’s more than enough happening to keep the middle of the film going strong. As mentioned the action is insanely over the top in how graphic they were, but they’re quite effective only brought down by usage of CGI. The visual look was quite interesting and does feel like something out of a comic book. The thing about the Punisher series is you can make it a straight forward revenge/action film like the 89 version and any camp value I don’t think was intentional. The 04 version while played straight also had some campy moments that hurt the flow a little bit in an otherwise terrific film. With War Zone, Lexi Alexander does a very good at making War Zone a straight up action film mixed in with a little bit of camp and since the film never tries to be a serious thriller all of the aspects work well.

The cast for War Zone is excellent and Dominic West as Jigsaw and Doug Hutchison as his brother Looney Bin Jim are both a lot of fun to watch and it seems clear they were enjoying themselves in their roles. As mentioned Ray Stevenson is great as Frank Castle and while the Punisher series may not have as successful as other comic book films each one though hit a home run in the casting of Frank Castle.

Unfortunately Punisher: War Zone was a complete box office failure and like I said even though the 04 version was a success it didn’t make nearly as much as other comic book films. For some reason despite the popularity of the comics, the film series just can’t seem to find an audience. Punisher: War Zone isn’t an action classic in the likes of Die Hard, but its still an excellent violent action film that again feels like something the Cannon Group would have made.

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The Punisher Issue 1 & 2 (2014) Comic Review

Posted in Punisher (Comics) with tags , , on May 7, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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THE PUNISHER ISSUE 1

**** Out of 5

Publisher- Marvel

Release Date- February 5th, 2014

Pages- 22

Frank Castle better known as the Punisher is one of the more intriguing comic book characters. In a universe with the likes of Spider-Man, X-Men and so on here’s Frank Castle who has no superpowers. He’s just a regular guy out on a quest for vengeance. In film perhaps my favorite style of film are vigilante films. The whole concept to me is quite interesting. I’ve seen the Punisher films, but never really followed the comics all that much. But truth is I’ve never really followed any comics that closely. From time to time through the years I’ve read some here and there. So when I decide to pick up some comics certain characters appeal to me more than others and while sure by right Spider-Man and Batman are vigilantes, but even though I love both those characters, it’s the Punisher that is my style of vigilante.

In a new story arc, Frank Castle leaves New York and heads out to Los Angeles to take down a dangerous drug cartel.

Issue 1 titled Memento Mori is fast paced with a lot of action. While this issue is very much driven by the action there are also some strong character moments as well and sets this up nicely for future issues. I can’t answer where this would rank alongside other Punisher comics, but for me it was an effective issue and I very much look forward to issue 2.

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THE PUNISHER ISSUE 2

**** Out of 5

Publisher- Marvel

Release Date- February 19th, 2014

Pages- 23

Frank Castle continues his pursuit of a drug cartel in L.A., but unknown to Frank a team of commandos are hot on his trail and the super villain Electro shows up. While not as strong as the first issue, the Punisher Issue 2 features enough story and action to keep it exciting while also setting up events for future issues. Thus far I’m enjoying this series and there’s a lot of potential here for it to be even better.

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The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Review

Posted in Amazing Spider-Man (2012) with tags , , , , on August 13, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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The Amazing Spider Man

Neil Wright’s review

*** ½ Out of 5

Well folks, I recently was able to see The Amazing Spider Man and I liked it much more than the Raimi films. One of the biggest reasons was the story telling and how true this new imagining held true to the comic book that I remember. With having Peter Parker as a genius high school student who can make his own webbing chemically and shoot them through a home made mechanical shooter. I feel that Martin Sheen was a more realistic Uncle Ben than the previous version, much more fatherly. Introducing Gwen Stacey at the start of this new Spider Man legend was a perfect addition. Marc Webb as a director is no where near holding the greatness of Raimi , but with less films under his belt maybe that gave him some freedom?

With Raimi we all had high expectations and for some Sam delivered but for me he didn’t., it turned into to a mutated cartoon without empathetic tendencies that this new version has. The Lizard as the villain, wasn’t the greatest choice, who would have been a better choice? Kraven The Hunter? Or why not a new Green Goblin, that didn’t look like shit?? Anyways, all in all Andrew Garfield was head and tails over Tobey as Parker, man was McGuire terrible!!! I don’t think though that the look of Spider Man was any different, why not??

Perhaps the logo was a little different but not by much….though there is humour in this version this film is no joke, unlike Raimi’s trilogy. Spider Man is almost a ridiculous comic book hero, he wasn’t born a mutant like X Men or a rich kid having his parents murdered in front of him like Batman. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider. Not my favourite super hero…..but in the end The Amazing Spider Man was much more enjoyable of an adventure film than Raimi’s films. Sorry folks but I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and I am being very generous.

Dave’s review

**** ½ Out of 5

Well I loved the movie and it was far better than I ever expected. Unlike Neil, I also enjoyed the Raimi movies, but I think I would agree on this one being better.

While the origin story works well it’s only slightly brought down by being more or less the same as the 2002 version. Andrew Garfield makes for an ideal Peter Parker/Spider-Man and rather than being nerdy like Maguire he’s a bit more of a loner and just doesn’t quite fit in. And to be honest I liked him more than Maguire. With that said I also liked Maguire, but I think Andrew Garfield was the better of the 2.

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is a welcome addition to the series and her character was more likable than Dunst as Mary Jane and it doesn’t hurt that Stone is amazingly beautiful.

Overall I really enjoyed this one a lot. Pacing is solid with a very slight lull around the mid way mark, but besides that the Amazing Spider-Man is an excellent and fun movie and as of now my 2nd favorite film of the year behind Dark Knight Rises.

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