Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This is an open letter to Lexi Alexander, the woman who has directed the bloody cinematic masterpiece, ‘Punisher: Warzone’.

Dear Miss Alexander,

It is ‘Miss’ isn’t it? It was with some reticence that I approached your new movie ‘Punisher: Warzone’, despite my appreciation for your previous film ‘Hooligans’ – one of the hardest movies EVER. You see, the Association of American Critics, an association of which I am loosely connected, which emphasis on the word ‘loosely’, has almost uniformly lambasted your film. Though I received my notice to see the critics preview of your film, in the last few months I’ve found myself blowing off these critical screenings mainly because, for lack of a better word, critics suck. I’m using generalities here but film critics are some of the most distasteful, self-absorbed people you will ever meet on the planet earth and are no joy to be in the company of. Instead I usually wait for a movie to be released to the general public and then travel to the cinema with my friends, shell out my own hard earned dollars, which are becoming increasingly difficult to come by, and watch a film with people I actually enjoy being around. The thing is Miss Alexander is that most film critics are gentle men. They enjoy foods such as brie and couscous. They listen to music by the masters such as Chopin, Rich Astley and Eric Benet. They enjoy alcoholic drinks with umbrellas inside of them. Not that gentle men aren’t valuable people as they have blessed the world with important advances such as crotchless underwear and potpourri. But the main reason these gentle critics didn’t care for your movie, Miss Alexander, is because generally speaking… they’re all a bunch of punk bitches.

It would appear that your ‘Punisher’ film is a loose sequel to the Thomas Jane Punisher from four years ago as Frank Castle, this time played with violent gusto by

Ray Stevenson, has long since lost his family and has been in the process of punishing, i.e., murderizing criminals with extreme prejudice for about six years now. In particular Frank is focusing on eliminating the Russoti family, with him having a special interest in silencing the pathologically vain Billy ‘The Beaut’ Russoti played by Dominic West. So Frank drops in on the party and kills people. I mean he REALLY kills people. Frank literally decapitates the leader of this crime family, despite the fact my man is a good 80 years old, in a wheelchair and attached to a colostomy bag. Dude was probably going to die naturally in a couple of weeks anyway, but then I guess he wouldn’t have been properly punished. With a good 80 or so mobsters now face down in the dirt, Frank heads out after Billy who has slipped out the back, and he ends up tossing Billy in big machine that crushes broken bottles which somehow Billy manages to survive, though his once handsome mug has now been mashed into something more or less resembling a Jigsaw puzzle.

More tragically however Frank pops an undercover FBI agent. In the process of punishing it’s not like my man can pull every perp to the side and ask ‘excuse me sir, are you an undercover FBI agent?’ This event however has ripped Frank to his very soul as he watches this FBI agents widow, Angela Donnatelli (Julie Benz), and her young daughter Grace (Stephanie Janusauskas) mourn the loss of their noble patriarch. This dead agents former partner, FBI agent Paul Budianski (Colin Salmon), who will be working with the lone police detective in this violent city tracking the Punisher, Detective Martin Soap (Dash Minok), has sworn to take down the violent vigilante, not that it matters much right now as Frank has decided to hang up his arsenal. Frank’s lone friend, the gun supplying Micro (Wayne Knight), implores Frank to reconsider this drastic action. Frank however wasn’t hearing any of it until Micro reminds him that Billy is still alive, now calling himself Jigsaw, and he’s sprung his cannibalistic, completely wacko brother, Looney Bin Jimmy Russoti (Doug Hutchinson) out of the psycho ward and they are going after the widowed Angela and her cute kid Grace. Well The Punisher can’t allow that to happen as now it is ON! People will get their faces caved in, get exploded by rockets, get impaled by stakes, take numerous bullets to the head, knees and throats until Frank Castle gets into his final showdown with the completely crazy Russoti brothers. I’m really not like those dudes chances.

What the general critical community failed to understand Miss Alexander, as pointed out by friend Desmond, is that they don’t call the man ‘The Rationalizer’. No ma’am, he’s The Punisher. When he shows up on the scene, people start dying by design. By casting Ray Stevenson, who seems to be about as unfriendly a dude as they come, you have an actor in that spot who has shown both Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane, a pair of actors we have nothing but mad love for, what Frank Castle is all about. Is you’re movie violent? Why yes it is… perhaps at times… unnecessarily so. Surely blowing off a dudes kneecaps, throwing him off a building and impaling him on a few steel stakes should be enough, but why did Frank have descend from the rooftop and then land on my man’ neck, placing his spine at an awkward backwards 88 degree angle and thus making said neck 12 inches longer? I know he wasn’t quite dead yet, but damn. Which is a word I used quite often as I watched your masterpiece, often whispered under my breath, while wincing with my teeth gritted. Damn. Usually Stan ‘The Man’ Lee makes an appearance in these Marvel based comic movies, but I supposed Stan opted out of this one because he didn’t want to see his head blown off. Seriously MPAA, what does one have to do to get and NC-17 around here?

Sure Dominic West was a bit over the top as Jigsaw, apparently channeling the ghost of actor Michael Pare, that is if Michael Pare were dead and had a ghost. Yes his New York accent was something that only a British actor being directed by a German woman might think was cool. There are other little things that critical types might wine about such as a lack of ‘character development’ and a minimum of dialog, but why take the time to develop a character that’s going to be dead in five minutes anyway? Exactly.

I enjoyed your movie Miss Alexander as you captured the Frank Castle that I remember as a youngster reading ‘The Punisher’ comic books. Sadly it looks as if the general public won’t be flocking to your outstandingly violent film, as the ‘demographic’ as it were prefers gay pirates over real movies featuring incredibly angry dudes putting bullets in the domes of other incredibly angry dudes, and that makes me sad. I will savor your film Miss Alexander since it seems that the series ends here, but I hope this end is a new beginning for you, Lexi Alexander, the hardest woman on the Planet Earth.

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