Tuesday, February 03, 2009

When evil is evil, and good is clueless

The first movie I pick to watch this year was an orgy of of gore and senseless violence. It's about killing with perfunctory efficiency using small-arms, blades, and whatever else within grabbing range that can send a guy to meet his maker without the fuss and bother of a fair trial before a jury of his peers.

Enough clues? Yes, I watched "Punisher: War Zone", featuring everyone's favourite Marvel non-super non-hero psychopath, the Punisher. And the preceding paragraph roughly summarizes the plot.

This is by no means a critique of the movie. I take my hat off to director, Lexi Alexander, who courageously dispenses with a long, convoluted plot and opts in favour of dropping us straight into the world as Frank Castle himself views it: war with no end, any threat to the innocent is expeditiously removed because the good don't have a clue how to take care of themselves.

The only complication Castle finds himself in is that sometimes we can't immediately tell good from evil, and he has to come to terms with a mistake he makes while pursuing his own course of justice.

P:WZ is no summer blockbuster. I'm glad it doesn't even pretend to be. An acquired taste, then, and definitely not meant for everyone. There are few high points and even then, few as they are, they are tinged with uneasiness. There are "funny" moments, though we laugh only because there's no other way to deal with the brutality of the dispatch. There's a sense of, "Yes! Justice!", but at the same time, "OmG, what a way to go."

Welcome to the world of the Punisher. Thankfully for most of us, we don't live there.

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