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Punisher: War Zone is a hard movie to rate. It is insanely over the top and hilarious in its excess and utter lack of knowledge of the real world. Its as if the filmmakers watched the Boondock Saints and wondered why they held back so much. The characters are so broadly sketched that nothing they do feels remotely true and the dialogue is cheesy and the delivery hammy. The violence is the selling point of the film, first, last and always. No single bullet (or even punch in one case) fails to destroy the victim’s skull entirely. Certain characters serve no purpose other than target dummies, particularly the Irish Rastafarian and his crew (though that was one of the film’s top moments). In the end, though, the reason I can only give the film two stars is the callous, bad spirited portrayal of the hero. His first and last dealings with Jigsaw are so pointlessly cruel that you are left with no one really to sympathize with. Wayne Knight’s Microchip was the only character to make any sacrifice and this was presented in a heartlessly thrown away moment. I will admit that this mess was entertaining but afterward I just felt a little dirty for having watched it. 2 stars

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