Friday, March 8, 2013

The obsession continues

In the interest of feeding my recent Punisher addiction, I took the time to start reading the Punisher MAX stories, by Garth Ennis. After discussing the movie Punisher: War Zone with fans who claim it is better than the Thomas Jane film, they cited that the second film was much more like the MAX comics. Well, I have to admit, that is very true.

My first impression of PWZ was that the violence and gore was over-the-top to the point of being cartoonish, and it took me out of the story. However, it does closely match the level of gore and violence in the comics, so that is obviously what they were going for. However, I think this was a mistake.

There are certain things that work well in four-color print that do not translate well to the screen. Spandex and tights, for one thing. But gore and violence are also on that list. Film gore is usually the purview of horror films, and it is done for shock value, and because it’s just expected. When that level of gore is introduced into an Action movie, it seems out of place to me.

Now, that being said, I can set that aside and just accept it. However, PWZ also had the flaw of, as one reviewer put it, “looking as if it were directed by Joel Schumacher.” As you should know, Joel raped the Batman franchise with his neon-infused, nippled batsuit entries. Similarly, PWZ was rife with whole scenes seemingly filmed through colored lenses. This sometimes works on film, but in this instance, each scene used a different hue. The over all effect was jarring and distracting for me.

I also didn’t like that some of the action sequences were a bit “John Woo” for a Punisher film. Hanging upside down from a chandelier comes to mind. That scene made me laugh out loud when I saw it in the preview, and I was not impressed with it in the actual film either.

I have to say, the acting and story were a bit closer to the Garth Ennis stories, and over all, they were good. Ray Stevenson made a fine Frank Castle, and even though I prefer Thomas Jane’s more “human” Punisher, I would be happy with another Stevenson outing.

I have read the first arc in the MAX comics, and look forward to reading the rest (I may even start collecting it, if it continues to be good). I have also decided to give PWZ a re-watch. So, you can probably expect more Punisher commentary here in the future.


inarticulate1 said...

Tom, it was Ray Stevenson (not Windstone)who played Frank Castle in PWZ. Ray Stevenson was Titus Pullo also in Rome and he played Dagonet in the Antoine Fuqua version of King Arthur.


Tom Doolan said...

Gah! Fixed. I knew that! Not sure what I was thinking there. Thanks for the catch, Rich.

Charles Gramlich said...

Never read a single punisher comic. I need to get some, maybe a collection or graphic novel with a complete story arc.

Tom Doolan said...

I highly recomend the MAX series that I have pictured above. That edition contains the first 12 issues, which covers two whole story archs. The writing is very "Hard R" rated. A lot of overt sexual references, drug-references and F-bombs. Definitely not a kids' book by any stretch. But none of it seems out of place.