Monday, April 27, 2009

A Punishing Experience

This weekend my wife and I rented Punisher: War Zone. We usually see superhero movies, so this was a natural for us to pick up.

The movie has a good story that draws you in and makes you care about the characters. It even manages to make the villain seem like a half-way decent guy at times causing some sympathy for him. The film made good use of the "new guy" character to give the viewer the Punisher's backstory without a slow lead-in origin story or an information dump at the beginning. With compelling characters, lots of action, and a couple of interesting, but not earth shattering, plot twists, all in all, it's pretty good drama and a fun story.

But all was not well. I'm casually familiar with the Punisher from my comic book reading days, so I expected it to be a bit rough, but I didn't expect what we got. The violence was unnecessarily -- even unrealistically -- gory. We're not talking slasher-flick levels, but still it was bloodier than it could have been -- clearly bloodier than the previous Punisher film.

Also, the language was completely unnecessary. In a movie about gangsters, you should probably expect an f-bomb or two, but its use was almost constant. We will occasionally watch movies that the kids might find scary and simply send them to play in their room, but for this one, I kept turning the volume down lest they should hear all the swearing. Absolutely, positively not family friendly.

Though we did enjoy the movie, if I'd had the good sense to read a review, I might not have rented this one. I certainly wouldn't do it again.

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