The next Punisher movie has a title, and it’s not the previously bandied about The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank (as awful a movie title as I could imagine); the new film will be called The Punisher: War Zone, which will be familiar to all Marvel Comics fans who were reading in the 90s.
I find myself amazed that Lionsgate is going back to the Punisher after his fire hydrant moving antics of the last film, which only the most stunted members of the audience could have possibly enjoyed on any level whatsoever. I also find myself wondering if this is being considered a sequel to Jonathan Hensleigh’s film or an Incredible Hulk-like reboot; if so, this will be the third different version of the Punisher, which surely must be a record for a character as young as Frank Castle (in comic book terms).
It seems to me that the continuation of this franchise comes from the Punisher’s iconic image and nothing else – the character is devoid of depth, meaning or interest. A Paul Kersey in black spandex, the Punisher is only of any value when placed inside a world of fantastical superheroes, where his actions can be contrasted to how Spider-Man and his amazing friends handle crime. As a standalone character he’s just Jason Voorhees with better skin and a penchant for killing crooks instead of teens.
But the most amazing part of this film may be that it’s being directed by a woman. Lexi Alexander, who is a former World Karate and Kickboxing Champ, does in fact have a vagina, a quality which probably skeeves out many die-hard Punisher fans. I don’t know that her gender will help her bring anything different to this character and this film, but it’ll be interesting in much the same way it’s interesting to see Jodie Foster essentially playing Paulette Kersey in The Brave One.