I give Punisher: War Zone a lot of credit. Bravo to the blunt, blatant, brutal violence. If you're going to do a vigilante, just go for it. The action scenes in War Zone are outrageous.
Review: Punisher: War Zone
When The Punisher kills people, he really kills them good. Head shots explode out of nowhere with comic timing. They get that action movie violence is a joke so they don't try to justify it. They just kill indiscriminately. I think everyone dies in this movie. Even the people that live must have died.
They have some forced emotional scenes that really just seem to be covering their butt for the action. Frank Castle will show a little bit of remorse, or identify with a child. Really, they just didn't have the budget for more action so they padded it out with some talking.
It's got the tone of a comic book with extreme characters. The bad guys are flamboyantly evil. Jigsaw is a gory cartoon as opposed to the realistic Two Face of The Dark Knight. The Punisher is so broody he doesn't even have time to eat. Even the cop on Punisher detail is like a Mayberry doe-eyed boy.
It's interesting how it connects to the last movie. They seem to agree that the Punisher has been at it for about four years. Or five, in another scene. Whatever. Yet it's not the backstory of the Jonathan Hensleigh film. Castle only lost three family members at a picnic, rather than his entire extended family at a reunion barbecue.
Punisher: War Zone clearly had a vision for just scrapping the artifice and just doing the bloody justice thing. It doesn't quite have the budget to do it all the way so I would say the Hensleigh Punisher is still the best overall film for exploring an origin with actual themes and storytelling. And I have a soft spot for the Dolph Lundgren one as just a pure '80s straight to video actioner. But I really enjoyed War Zone more than I ever expected to a third attempt at a franchise.