Punisher: War Zone appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not bad, the transfer seemed disappointing given the movie’s vintage.
Overall sharpness felt fine. Some wider shots leaned toward the soft side of the street, but nothing egregious occurred, and most of the film boasted accurate visuals.
The image lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and I saw no edge haloes. While not dominant, print flaws popped up a bit more than expected, as I saw occasional small specks.
Unsurprisingly, Zone went with a highly stylized palette that tended toward a lot of strong yellows, blues, greens and reds. These showed exaggerated tones that felt appropriate for the over the top nature of the film.
Blacks seemed a bit too dense, as detail in dark clothing got lost much of the time. Shadows felt appropriate, with good definition in low-light shots. The movie remained more than watchable but it probably should’ve looked better.
I felt more pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. With a fair amount of action on display, the mix used the channels in an involving manner throughout the majority of the film.
This meant gunfire and other mayhem all around the room, and the elements connected in a concise, smooth manner. Add to that music as a bold partner and the soundscape turned into an aggressive piece much of the time.
Audio quality always satisfied. Music was dynamic and full, and effects followed suit.
Those components came across as accurate and well-developed. Speech seemed distinctive and crisp, without edginess or other issues. Everything impressed in this strong soundtrack.
When we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Lexi Alexander and director of photography Steve Gainer. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, sets and locations, cinematography and production design, music, editing, stunts, and connected areas.
From start to finish, Alexander and Gainer deliver a lively discussion. They cover a nice array of subjects and do so in a peppy manner, factors that help make this a winning commentary.
A few featurettes follow, and we start with The Making of Punisher: War Zone. It goes for nine minutes, two seconds and includes Alexander, Gainer, producer Gale Anne Hurd, co-producer Jack Murray, and actors Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, Colin Salmon, Dash Mihok, Wayne Knight and Doug Hutchison.
“Making” covers attempts to replicate the source, various production challenges, characters, cast and performances. A few good nuggets emerge but this mainly feels like a promo piece.
Next comes Meet Jigsaw, a three-minute, 34-second reel with West, Alexander, Benz, Stevenson and visual effects supervisor Robert Short. We get some notes about West’s performance and the work done to bring the character’s look to life. Like the prior show, it tosses out a smattering of useful material but it lacks much depth.
With Weapons of The Punisher, we get a four-minute, 39-second piece with Stevenson, Alexander, weapons supervisor Paul Barrette, and military advisor Jon Barton. As expected, the show details the guns used in the film. It becomes a passable overview.
Training to Become The Punisher lasts five minutes, 47 seconds and involves Stevenson, Alexander, action sequence supervisor Pat Johnson. Mainly we see footage from rehearsals, as Stevenson worked through action elements. Those elements make it a decent look behind the scenes.
Finally, Creating the Look of the Film runs two minutes, 46 seconds and includes Gainer, Alexander, production designer Andrew Neskoromny and costume designer Odette Gadoury. It discusses aspects of the movie’s visual design and brings a short but competent reel.
The disc opens with ads for Crank 2: High Voltage, The Haunting in Connecticut, Transporter 3, Saw V, The Spirit, Hulk Vs. and The Burrowers. We also find the traiiler for War Zone.
A super-violent package with little story involved, Punisher: War Zone exists mainly as 103 minutes of gore. Few positives materialize in this messy, loud experience. The Blu-ray brings decent visuals as well as very good audio and supplements led by a nice commentary. Zone fails become a quality action tale.