Ray Stevenson Wants Another Crack at the Punisher

Widely agreed among the three iFanboy founders as the worst of all modern comic book movies, Punisher: War Zone was a disaster. Yet, it should be said that Ray Stevenson's portrayal of Frank Castle wasn't really the problem, as much as a horrid script and some of the worst direction we've ever seen.

Ray would like it know that he would be on board if they ever decide to do another movie. He said "I would be honoured and blessed if it ever came my way again. Definitely."

The Punisher is of the rare thrice rebooted franchise breed, where Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane (!) have tread before. But with a production budget of about $35 million, and a total gross of about $10 million worldwide, they're probably going to find a fourth Punisher for that to ever happen. At least Tom Jane's version broke even. Still, that doesn't stop the collective wisdom of 194 reviewers at Amazon from rating the film at 4 out of 5 stars, citing such reasons as:

  • If this is too gory, then you simply shouldn't watch it
  • If you're an action fan who has been craving for a non stop and over the top intense action movie, say no more and watch this movie!
  • Don't get me wrong, the new Friday the 13th Remake was fun but it can't hold a candle to the carnage that takes place in Punisher: War Zone!
  • If you like great violent comicbook movies then this is the movie for you.
  • After a couple of failed attempts at making a great Punisher film, Punisher War Zone gives us what fans were looking for. It's in your face and gritty and our ruthless hero takes no prisoners.

And so on.

But it's not all bad news. For example, the film resulted in one of the most fun special edition podcasts we've ever recorded, in which I apologized to all other terrible moves to come before.


  1. It’s a shame that we’ll never see a good Punisher film for the time being. Again let me state that:

    Why can’t Marvel or any studio grab Garth Ennis to properly write a Punisher film is beyond me. Not just steal an idea from his, like they did for the Jane film, but to actual write it is what I want.

    Stevenson did a good job as Frank Castle given the enormous amount of awful writing and directing. But to be honest…..I perfer Thomas Jane. Not just for his film but for the great acting he did for the Punisher PS2 game. He’s fucking badass in that game. 

  2. War Zone was a lot of fun, far from the worst modern comic movie, the honor of which would go to Catwoman.

  3. The first three minutes of Punisher War Zone were great. And then he jumped on a fucking chandelier with his legs and spun in a 360 while shooting. 

    I would also agree with Catwoman definitely being far more unwatchable though. 

  4. No way this is the worst modern comics film. I even thought War Zone was better than Jane’s attempt. Oof! 

  5. War Zone isn’t the worst modern comic bool movie, it’s the second worst modern movie of all time period. Bested only by the pointless blackhole of two hours that was Borat

  6. I don’t know why people don’t just flick off their “logic” switch and accept the movie for the B-movie garbage it is.  It’s a totally fun movie to watch and laugh at its badness.  It’s far more watchable if you’re not looking at it critically.

  7. Seriously, when he punched that guy THROUGH HIS FACE?! I mean maybe I’m biased, I totally went with the right people to see it and snuck in a bunch of tallboys. I laughed a lot. I mean I would never watch it for fun again and the direction was really weird, it also pissed all over a bunch of Punisher Max characters, but it was still fun.

  8. The best thing about War Zone is that it had moments where it kind of knew how stupid it was. When those guys were doing flips in slow motion i remember thinking “This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen all day.” and right as I though that here comes a rocket to blow up the dumbest thing I’ve seen all day. That part made me smile

  9. @Neb  It wasn’t so much the logic of the film as it was some of the worst directing, acting, and writing I’ve ever seen from a major motion picture. As we said on the show, once the film loses the audience, as this one did at our screening, the audience is not willing to give the ridiculous things the benefit of the doubt.

  10. I agree, iFanboy was way off in their critique of this movie.  Though it’s certainly not the first time!

    Remember, this is the site that calls “Superman Returns” good.  I recall Conor bizarrely putting it towards the top of his list.  But he is the DC Guy.

  11. @KickAss  I’m also the Good Movie Guy!

  12. You people are insane.

  13. He’s in the new Thor movie right? Playing Volstagg in a fat suit?

  14. Agree that Catwoman or Batman Forever or Batman and Robin were worse. I enjoyed Punisher: War Zone. Yeah, it was ridiculous and over the top, but to me it had the feel and flow of a Garth Ennis Punisher story. Tom Jane’s was probably a better movie all around but this one felt more Punisher-y to me. I’d be down for more Punisher either way.

  15. @MegaPhilip  When we talk about modern comic book movies, we’re talking post-2000. That being said, I think Punisher War Zone is WAY worse than Batman Forever or Batman and Robin.

  16. I will also like to say that quality and enjoyment are both two different things. For example, I love Weekend at Bernies II but and enjoy it way more than I don’t know, what ever the last Seth Rogen movie was. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a better made movie.

  17. Ray Stevenson was really the only good part of this movie. Other then him blowing up a parkour freak with a rocket launcher.  That was the best part.

  18. I loved the fact that they went all out on this movie.  I thought it was actually pretty cool.  (and have rewatched it a few times since).

  19. @KickAss  Dude, that movie sucked big time and Superman Returns was the jam for the most part, except for Lois. War Zone was just so bad it became funny which was not the intent

  20. @conor  I understand the hate for War Zone I just don’t share it. I had fun watching it. I remember thinking in the theater how it was very much structured like a 5 or 6 issue arc with the different plots it had going. I know you guys complained about the crazy almost slapstick violence in one scene then heartfelt emotion in another but think about it, how is that all that different from Ennis’s MAX run? I understand why it didn’t work for everyone but it worked for me. On the other hand, I did NOT enjoy it the same way I enjoyed The Dark Knight. The difference to me is like the difference between McDonald’s and a good steakhouse, both have their place.

  21. @conor  War Zone worse that Batman & Robin?! That is the most insane statement I’ve ever heard. Or read. Or dreamed.

    But, it’s cool. 

  22. @slim  In hindsight I think he’s right. The studio told Shumacher to make a more campy family fun movie so he did. War Zone should have been awesome and the whole production fell apart, to the point where the director wanted her name removed. Say what you want about Shumacher, lord knows I have, but at least he stood by his movie and acknowledged all of its shortcomings.

  23. @RoiVampire  Well, how are we grading these films then? In terms of how the director stood by his convictions or how the final product turned out in terms of direction, writing and/or acting?

    I’d obviously say that Batman & Robin had the worst acting and writing when compared to War Zone. Hands down. But that’s just my opinion. 

    I just can’t see past Batman & Robin being “better” than anything else. I guess at that point it would be “less worse” than War Zone.

    I think we can agree that neither film was all that spectacular. But in no way shape or form do I think War Zone was WAY worse than Batman & Robin. Again, that’s just me.

  24. Guys, enjoyment is subjective. You guys(and myself) merely enjoyed War Zone more than say Batman and Robin.

    Batman and Robin is definitely a better made movie though. War Zone had TERRIBLE acting. Looney Bin Jim(seriously with that name?) running in to mirrors? The Punisher punching someone THROUGH the face? The punisher shooting someones head off while they’re taking a dump for NO REASON? The whole parkour thing? How weirdly all the shots were set up? I have never seen so much wasted space in a film. The movie I think had some hint of intended camp but ultimately had no idea what kind of tone it was going for. Also, it did not remind me of anything Garth Ennis has done, especially in regards to his Punisher which was ultimately very serious, down to earth and extremely engaging(War Zone was none of these things). The only thing I can say is that Ray Stevenson was a great Punisher but how hard is it to scowl and shoot things? 

    Batman and Robin at least had inspired set design and casting(which it should because it was basically a vehicle to sell toys and shit). I mean Joel Schumacher is pretty inept(I did enjoy Falling Down I guess) but he at least he kept a steady tone for the movie(let’s settle with flamboyant).

    War Zone was not even close to being a decently made movie. It was fun for some people to watch but you are seriously delusional if you can’t figure out why someone rather eating a bowl of nails than watch it again.

  25. @SirCox  You face is delusional!

    Both movies are awful. This argument is going nowhere. You win, Obama!

  26. @slim  I’d say war zone had worse acting but both movies failed in representing their main characters. batman doesn’t smile and the punisher doesn’t cry. both movies had a lot of neon signs as well which for some reason makes me angry since neither movie is set in Vegas

  27. @slim  Shittt. Rebuttal of the year.

    Oh, I also liked Wayne Knight as Microchip. I thought that was pretty inspired. 

  28. @conor  worse than electra and catwoman? barbwire and so on?

  29. @rottenjorge  As I said, it’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen in the theater. More thoughts here. Never saw Barb Wire, which was in 1996 and not a modern day comic book movie, by our definition.

  30. There’s “so bad it’s good” which I don’t really agree with, and with that you get your Roadhouse, and then there’s just “so bad it’s sad,” which is how I saw PWZ.

  31. I love Punisher War Zone. And I make no apologies for it. It had Punisher killing lots of dudes, which is all I really need from a Punisher movie.

  32. i saw PWZ as forgettable. I just can’t remember anything from that movie. 

    So bad its good can’t apply to something like this…it was too high budget and trying too hard. If it was a Roger Corman/ Golan-Globus; Cannon Films, or grindhouse kinda thing then sure, But this was trying to be taken seriously which was a bad idea.  

  33. It did suck. However he was the best Punisher of the three. The bodycount was through the roof in the first 10 minutes. It was a bad movie.

  34. How about we end this off by saying most of you who likes this movie are nuts and probbly have horrible taste. This movie is just terrible.

  35. i thought he was perfectly cast but…for the love of jaysus…how could they have gotten it so wrong. This should be the easiest comic book adaptation to do but…

  36. I can understand someone not liking the movie, but calling it the worst of all time? I rather liked it… to me it was the adam west batman on acid. what dominic west was doing with jigsaw was not much different than what frank gorshin did with the riddler.

  37. Its not as bad as Electra or Man-thing movies!  The problem with the film is Jigsaw.  Ray Stevenson did a great job as Frank.  They did try to have all of Ennis’ Punisher Max characters appear though and that was overkill.  If they did another one, Barracuda would be a great villain.  I for one would love for Jason Aaron’s Kingpin story to be the plot.

  38. “…worst of all modern comic book movies…”  Are you high?

    War Zone is better than: Catwoman, Thomas Jane’s Punisher, Elektra, Ang Lee’s Hulk and most of Tim Burton’s Batman movies.  I’m probably missing a few. Maybe Burton’s flicks don’t count as “modern”, but still.  

    Ray Stevenson was a GREAT Castle.  

  39. I’ll just say this: After 10 minutes of watching it on HBO, I decided to see what was on HGTV. 

  40. @r3v  Dude you must be stoned. While Stevenson looked the part he could only do so much with the horrible script. Plus he cried. CRIED! Frank Castle does not cry! Batman Returns alone is twice the movie that War Zone set out to be. I’ll give you catwoman and elektra but lets not drag burton into this. Tomas Jane didn’t look as much like Frank as Stevenson did but he wins for one simple reason; no crying.

  41. Have Tarantino or Rodriguez, do it, I think.

  42. Tarantino needs to an Iron Fist movie

  43. war zone wasn’t a good movie but it was better than the thomas jane movie.  the dolph one is still the best punisher movie.  and not in a “I’m trying to be ironic” way either.  that movie rules.

  44. @RoiVampire Look, I’m not arguing that it was a great movie… but “worst of all…”?! That’s absurd. 

    (But, to be fair, I shouldn’t have mentioned Burton.  Batman ’89 and Batman Returns are better flicks.  Batman Forever and Batman & Robin are not, but that’s not Burton’s fault. I always incorrectly attribute some small amount of blame to him for those horrid films. I shouldn’t.)

  45. I almost think thomas jane “fake torturing” a guy with a popsicle is worse than crying.  not to mention the severe lack of “punishing” in that movie.

  46. @clintaa  Right?! Where was the punishing? 

  47. The only punishing that happened in Punisher: War Zone was inflicted by the filmmakers on the audience.

  48. it really is better on the second watch when you know what to expect.  it becomes much easier to ignore jigsaw and enjoy a dude’s face getting punched in.

  49. to be fair, the movie did get you guys to do a pretty entertaining podcast review. “With apologies to…(basically every movie ever)” was good times. 

  50. I liked it!  I felt like it was truly MAX and the previous was Marvel Knights.  (I loved Ennis’ MAX yet found his Marvel Knights ridiculous.)  Maybe the Garth Ennis’ tales that were over the top prepared me for the silliness.  (He wrote an arc where this guy fell in love with a pumpkin)….  but I digress..

    This movie made a small part of me hope that a certain number of comic book movies were awful, because that made for the funniest podcast.  (The Wolverine podcast was one of funniest things I’ve heard).

  51. I have to lean more on iFanboy’s opinion on this one. Maybe I’m a snob when it comes to what to see in theater, but I thought that War Zone outdid the “loom of fate” on this one. I did like the look of Stevenson’s Punisher, though. Maybe with good direction, he would do well. This is, however, not the worse movie I saw in theaters. That honor most likely goes to Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

  52. think that was my favorite podcast ever

  53. Terrible movie. Terrible, terrible move. Not only the worst modern comic book movie, but among the worst movies ever.
    It’s really a shame they can’t do a decent Punisher movie, when they both times had a pretty good casting for Frank Castle.
    Best Punisher movie yet: Taken

  54. There will NEVER be a good Punisher film.

  55. Man On Fire was the best Punisher movie ever made.

  56. Never saw it… dont think I will now..

  57. @Superyan  Which, Man On Fire or War Zone?

  58. @slim  No, Death Wish is.  The novel also could be the basis for ‘our’ Punisher.

  59. @UncleBob  How in anyway was it true to the MAX series? They shared names and slight likenesses. That was it. Fuck, the dude that got his face PUNCHED through was suppose to be Ink who was a quiet, badass guy who got his name for executing someone with a pen. In the movie he was a wimpy guy who ultimately got his face punched through. I’m not even going to discuss the whole Maginty doing parkour thing. Punisher MAX was very no nonsense thing that covered a variety of serious topics. War Zone was about as silly as it gets.

  60. Punisher War Zone was pretty bad as a movie, but Stevenson was THE BEST Frank Castle EVER. He looked the part 100%, his attitude was right on, his acting was flawless (considering the script), and his outfit was perfect.

    I know they never will, but I’d really like it if they gave Ray another shot. He’s awesome.