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Tim Bradstreet

The Punisher: WarZone

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I don't see why in doing an adaptation, that they don't stay true to the original work. It's like the whole I Am Legend thing. I would guess that the best thing about brining an adapted peice to the screen is that you have a built in audience already. By fucking things up, you are pissing off that audience and essentally throwing free money away. Plus, in our internet age, negative word of mouth travels fast. I can see adding your own little touches here and there, but why ruin a good thing?

As for Punisher, it's hard to tell. I agree, the review is just another shot in the dark. At this point, anything can happen. What studios should do is have a fan screening, not just pull random people off the street. Really, truly, a fan screening would be the only one worth listening to.

The Dogma thing, I agree. Good script. I still liked the movie, but somthing was missing. If a studio liked the script good enough to buy it, I don't see the logic in going in after the purchase and changing things. They should have done this before hand.

Here's to the best!

 

 

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Talked to Lexi and the Cinematographer today and they are WAY excited about the Punisher.

Folks should also know that Ray, as with Tom, is taking his role very seriously.

He is seriously dedicated to doing right by the fans. I think he's going to make a great anchor for the film.

Whether or not some version of the script that's out there sucks ass or no, just take into consideration that a final script can still go through major changes once a director is atached.

Lexi is exhuberant, excited, and focused on creating something special. She's very excited by her cast. She's got her head on straight.

For folks that have mixed feelings or even negative feelings about the state of this production, I say give Lexi a shot at this before you dismiss it outright.

 

It's painful to me personally that Tom is not still attached and that making the film he wanted wasn't meant to be.

But I still remain optimistic about the possibilities, speaking purely as a Punisher fan.

 

- Tb

 

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Talked to Lexi and the Cinematographer today and they are WAY excited about the Punisher.

Folks should also know that Ray, as with Tom, is taking his role very seriously.

He is seriously dedicated to doing right by the fans. I think he's going to make a great anchor for the film.

Whether or not some version of the script that's out there sucks ass or no, just take into consideration that a final script can still go through major changes once a director is atached.

Lexi is exhuberant, excited, and focused on creating something special. She's very excited by her cast. She's got her head on straight.

For folks that have mixed feelings or even negative feelings about the state of this production, I say give Lexi a shot at this before you dismiss it outright.

 

It's painful to me personally that Tom is not still attached and that making the film he wanted wasn't meant to be.

But I still remain optimistic about the possibilities, speaking purely as a Punisher fan.

 

- Tb

 

Thanks for the update... I couldn't agree with you more! Any film can fail, but there are lots of reasons to think this one will succeed.

 

I remember reading or hearing (can't remember the source) that you did more than just the promotional artwork for the '04 movie. Were there any scenes or shots that you got to influence in the film itself? (Aside from the extended cut's new intro scene, I mean!)

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In a nutshell, here's what happened between me and the 2004 production of the Punisher.

 

I saw an article about the Punisher being greenlit at Artisan.

The article in question was focused on Gale Anne Hurd's involvement as producer.

I said to myself, "I want to work on this movie", simple as that.

But it's never that simple. How in the hell would I contact her?

I started doing my homework and then I had a brilliant (bashful, ain't I?) idea.

I contacted the one guy who I KNEW would have the clout to track me down a phone # or email address for Gale.

I promptly emailed a man I'm proud to call friend, Frank Darabont.

He DIRECTLY hooked me up with not only Gale but also her husband, Jonathan Hensleigh, who was set to direct.

 

So I called him.

John and I talked extensively about everything from who to cast as Howard Saint (I lobbied HEAVILY to get Terrence Stamp), to production design and lighting.

I'm blowing the answer to your question early but stick with me, it's pretty interesting.

The ONE thing I had a direct hand in as far as the film itself is concerned was the trailer. John called me one night and said he had to go shoot a trailer but he had no money and he had one day to shoot it. He wanted to know if I had any ideas. Believe me, that was strange and surreal territory. The director is asking ME if I have any ideas. Pretty cool.

Anyway, I said yes, yes in fact I do have an idea. So I started to break it down, no money, one day to shoot . . . . I said John, remember the trailer for Rambo: First Blood Pt II?

He says "yeah", I say "All you gotta do is show this guy in his element, show him putting his gun back together after he's cleaned it. Show him locking and loading, packing out his gear, pulling on his black leather trench coat, adjusting straps, etc . . . Shoot it real tight so you don't see who it is until the "reveal" at the end. Just show his muscles rippling, veins ripping up the backs of his forearms, pan over some of his scars .. Blah, blah, blah, you get the picture. Just envision the FB Pt. II trailer but swap out Rambo for The Punsiher.

He loved it.

We hung up and I started to think more about it, and then proceeded to hatch out a completely different idea and sent it to John in an email.

I never heard another thing about it until I saw the trailer online. And guess what? It was 95% the second idea I gave him.

I was just sitting there with my mouth hanging open.

Definitely one of THE most surreal experiences of my life lemme tell ya.

 

Now when Punisher was finally getting into preproduction John calls me and says "Sorry dude, Marvel won't OK hiring you for prepro because they say we already have all of your covers." In other words, what did they need me for? They already had a ton of covers I'd illustrated that were already paid for.

See where I'm going?

After a month of rapping with John we were of the mind that I'd get hired for preproduction, and we're talking stuff way beyond what I'd done with the covers. The covers are just the character, and we already knew what that was going to look like, OBVIOUSLY. I regret to tell you that it turned out to be Marvel's call, and not John's.

So I was out.

 

So aside from the trailer, and the movie posters, there was nothing else.

And don't assume I'm not extremely happy about what I DID get to do.

I feel extremely fortunate to have been involved in any way.

The biggest thrill for me was that the production embraced the look I'd brought to the cover work and attempted to bring some of that to the screen.

Right down to Frank wearing the black military pants, black leather boots, black leather coat, and skull T.

Aside from the new skull design, that was all mine.

So in spite of not actually working on the film I felt a big part of it.

Jonathan, Tom, Gale, Avi, and Ari Arad made me feel like part of the family.

 

Apologies for my ramble.

 

Incidentally, it was Lisa Tomczeszyn, the costume designer who created the new skull.

Which will likely be redesigned for WAR ZONE.

 

- TB

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So I called him.

John and I talked extensively about everything from who to cast as Howard Saint (I lobbied HEAVILY to get Terrence Stamp), to production design and lighting.

That's amazing, that's who I wanted to be Howard Saint. Terrence Stamp is such a great actor and this would have been putting him in a good element, if ya know what I mean.

 

-JO

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Wow, thanks for the in depth answer... I had no idea that it wasn't Marvel that got you involved. I mean, sure they already had a bunch of covers, but that's obviously a lot less useful than having the man who created them actively working on the film. I can only imagine your assistance would've brought it closer to what fans expect out of a movie that carries the Punisher name.

 

That trailer alone was really awesome, had everybody stoked for the movie! In fact, having a trailer so close in theme and appearance to the comic kind of made it feel weird later when the movie deviated in a lot of ways. I mean, I think I like the movie more than most people do, but it was bizarre going from an appropriately hard-rocking "ready to kill" teaser to a trailer opening with silly island music and "we're not lucky... we're blessed." Just glad they're taking another crack at it and not letting the character fall back out of the spotlight... I really hope you get to do more with this movie!

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I have to agree with you, each new review of the script I read the more awful the film sounds.

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Guest AdminGuyX

I'd be very interested to learn how the sequel might shape up visually, given the resume of Steve Gainer. He's done almost exclusively low budget indy stuff, and lots of work shot on video too.

 

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TJ basically is the punisher. I mean if he does the movie once, and so well, then everyone is gonna have his great acting still in his head. When They go see the punisher 2 the people who enjoyed TJ's acting so much will feel kinda out of place not seeing him as the punisher. But still that's life folks.

 

People need to adjust to Ray now unfortunetly, but Ray is a great actor so hopefully he'll pull this off.

 

But still If I had to pick another person to play punisher, I would pick Thomas Haden Church. for 1 he did an outstanding job in spiderman 3 and almost gave a frank castle sense to his character sandman. 2 He looks sort of like TJ. Yet he's not TJ. But Still THC Would have been a good option I think.

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Guest AdminGuyX

Now, to be fair, it seems TJ left the production for a few of his own reasons.

 

I think he wanted to make a certain kind of dark brutal film the studio wasn't willing to make. That doesn't automatically mean Lexi won't craft a compelling movie now that she's behind the wheel. Tim's involved, so I'm certainly willing to support it.

 

TJ was looking at two choices "Do a sequel or direct my first film?" what would have chosen?

 

I'm not willing to dismiss Ray's work so easily without even seeing him in character. He might just rock, we don't know yet. Personally, Chris Meloni would be my choice to play Castle, but what the hell do I know? ;)

 

And lets be honest here, while the first movie had a few good scenes, it still had Frank Castle carrying a fire hydrant in a duffle bag, was shot in Tampa, and while it tried to work in terms of his character and core story, IMHO, it failed to be the punisher film we all wanted to see.

 

I have no problem giving the sequel a chance to be a good film, even a better film than the first. The script for the first film wasn't shakespeare either.

 

 

 

 

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So if the first film wasn't "good enough", what the hell is this gonna be?

 

Closer to the comics maybe? I bet you two (if not three) times as many bad guys get knocked off in this one. I enjoyed the '04 one, but then again, I'm also a big fan of Home Alone (which was the first film I thought of when I sat down to review '04.) They made a huge mistake ripping Bruno Costa out of the script (France had him in there by his own admission) and replacing him with Howard Saint. If Travolta had been willing to put on a bald cap, HE could have been Bruno Costa. The movie still could have referred to NY as the Castle family's home without going there (it would still have been canon enough, as the Costas lived in Florida.) Making Castle pull pranks on his enemies was a big mistake too. It still got the R, why not just go for the hard R? There's just a thousand ways they could have done this on a light budget without changing the character from the comics.

 

It matters that War Zone is going to be more of an action movie. It matters that it's going to be set in New York. It matters that it uses more important characters from the comic. I would have liked Jane to stick around too... he's been the Punisher twice, counting the video game, and could've given a mind-blowingly definitive Frank Castle performance in it. I can't lie though -- I have yet to understand from the script reviews what is so terrible about the new script, and just because Jane didn't like it doesn't NECESSARILY mean it was bad... there's a lot more to taste than a simple 1 to 10 meter. Jane never even saw the Marcum & Holloway script, and if I remember right, he didn't even know who the director would be. Though I can't say for sure, of course.

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i liked the 04 punisher. sure, it didn't quite tap into its full potential, but it not being set in new york was not really a big deal. in the comic, the guy is constantly mobile and not defined by one major city like say spider-man. the only thing that really took away from the film, to me at least, was casting a big name to play the villain. changing the villains' names, relocating to tampa, and killing off castle's whole bloodline were all very, very minor compared to that. i saw Howard Saint as more of a distraction then anything else that took me out of the story. by the end of the film there really wasn't anything cathartic or satisfying about Castle killing Saint. because every time i see the film i just think, 'damn. the punisher just fucked up john travolta.'

 

but i don't see how some people are saying that War Zone is going to be closer to the comic then the first one. what do you make of the ending in 2004 with frank writing in his war journal, saying the latin prayer, and wearing the tac vest which was obviously taken from the year one origin. and what about the use of some of the welcome back frank storyline and characters? i suppose war zone would be considered closer to the comics since they're using a whole clusterfuck of characters as opposed to just four from not just one or two story lines of the comic, but several. i guess i can see where it makes it that much more "closer" to its comic book roots.

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I praise you K, for seeing past the politics of Punisher purists that want nothing more than a movie with Frank killin off non-existing mob members in NYC. Sic Vis Pocem Para Bellum. I fuckin loved that side of TJ's film. I was in the military (U.S. Army), and I understood the mentality behind Frank's tactical decisions, including the "Declaration of Intent", very clearly. Its sad to see that apparently all these Punisher Disaster Zone enthusiasts FORGOT about that. Forgot about:

 

"#2. Frank Castle is dead. He died with his family.

#3. In certain extreme situations, the law is inadequate. In order to shame it's inadequacy - it is necessary to act outside the law, to pursue Natural Justice. This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it's an emotional response. No, not vengeance: Punishment." -Thomas Jane as Francis Castle Jr.

 

I know that by heart. That's the impact the Punisher had on me. I saw it right before I enlisted and went off to boot camp. THAT above and below, is ICONIC. Is it closer to the comics than Jigsaw and Maginty? Who gives a shit.

 

Close enough people?

thomasjanethepunisher2pr9.jpg

 

I'm thinkin REALLY FUCKIN CLOSE.

-TL

 

well the stuff you mentioned is right out of the Punisher year one comic series. Almost the whole damn ending of the '04 film was. I have been a Punisher fan for 20 years and I loved the '04 film it had a lot of the comic book elements to it. Sure it should have been set in NY instead of Tampa but that is not a biggie to me. It is sad that a lot of Punisher fans seem only to like the character for the bodycount and not for the character.

 

Aaron

 

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Everything shouldn't always be exact, it's never really exact in the movies. I mean if all fine with me, it doesn't matter where it's takeing place or what, just as long as the true characters get through, you can do anything.

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In the comic book the punisher after avenging his family sort of becomes this vigilante on the street going after criminals and he always sort of walks the line between good and bad. In the sequels is there anything like that being talked about where he's almost the villain.

 

Thomas Jane: Abso-fucken-lutley!, that's the whole thing of why I decided to become this guy ....and part of the reason why it took me so long to get me to do it, this is not a heroic person, he may have done these heroic things to avenge his family but he walks that line between good and bad and what's right and wrong and he crosses it sometimes you know? He does take it too far sometimes and in the second one [film] I think he should get apocalyptic, he should have the FBI after him, the cops after him and the mob after him and he's totally isolated himself, and he s just a fucken machine. I'd love to take it that far, trying to have that humanistic connection and then that not working out for him and then in the 3rd one I'd like to see him go completely insane.

 

That's The Punisher & that's Frank Castle. Insane, out of it, fuckin' people up and not caring. He loses it and doesn't know what's right, what's wrong. He is a machine.

 

-JO

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Guest AdminGuyX

I'm not a purist. I can enjoy it when characters and stories are adapted to film and get changed as long as the story is entertaining on some level, as long as the story works on some level. I've said that elsewhere on the boards. But The Punisher is an old favorite of mine, and I wanted a different kind of film than they made.

 

That said, If it's a wildly different take, like say Constantine, I tend to separate them. It's not Hellblazer by a damn sight, but still, I don't hate that film either. I thought it was a fun movie regardless of it's difference from the book.

 

For The Punisher, I was let down by the films visuals first and foremost. I felt Hensleigh could have made a much better film than he did in terms of story and character as well. I thought he "borrowed" the best parts of the movie from Garth Ennis. I felt Conrad Hall could have shot the hell out of Tampa had they left the 5 mile radius of Harbor Island to shoot, but they really didn't. ;) I respect what they were trying to do with the film, but for me, it just fell short of what I wanted from a Punisher film.

 

If you loved it, great, I'm not trying to take anything away from the fans who did. No way.

 

I was pretty close to the production, I lived in Tampa for close to a decade, and lived there during filming. I had several friends work on the film, including my roommate who was one of Gale Ann Hurd's assistants during shooting. I toured the sets, and attended the wrap party. I was looking forward to the film, even though I had a sense from talking to my friends, one of whom screened the dailies at Channelside cinemas, that I might not LOVE the direction they'd gone in creatively.

 

I shot 3 feature films in Tampa, and a slew of short films, including horror, noir, and action. You're right TL, Tampa has seedy. Plenty of it, as any city does. I've had a lens on the dank alleys in Ybor City. As well as the old docks and warehouses in the Channelside district. I've shot scenes in abandoned cigar buildings in seminole hieghts, and even a car chase along bayshore blvd.

 

The Punisher crew didn't attempt to find the dark or seedy side of Tampa visually speaking. They made a choice to shoot mansions and high rises, Hyde Park, and UT, all very clean and "safe". They created an apartment building set with a touch of "rundown" to it. It's what the script called for. They were not going for a dark film, I felt it was a pretty sunny film considering, including the final shot on the sunshine skyway, which was a beautiful shot, and that was the whole problem I had with it. Beautiful, sunny Florida.

 

Did I hate the film? I think I've been pretty clear in saying NO, I thought Tom was very good, I thought Will Patton was excellent (very nice guy too boot), and I thought Ben Foster stole every scene he was in. The fight with The Russian was cool. But I just didn't feel like the film worked on other levels. The Harry Heck stuff was weird, and seemed very out of place. The fucking fire hydrant BS was painful for me to watch. Travolta didn't exactly deliver a tour de force performance for me.

 

I could go on with stuff I liked and disliked, or how I'd of done it differently if I had the sandbox to play in, but the point is, the whole point I'm trying to make is, I gave the film a shot regardless of feeling like I might not like it. I did that because I wanted to support the character, and I wanted to support the people involved in the project. I even bought the DVD just to support the project, because I wanted a sequel really bad. I wanted to see Tom Jane UNLEASHED as Castle.

 

But, that ship has sailed, and I have no problem supporting the new flick, despite many misgivings. Just like I had misgivings about the first one. What the hell is so wrong with that? Knowing Tim will be involved has notched up my interest considerably.

 

For the sequel, I like Lexi Alexander directing. I feel like she might surprise us. I'm not going to lie about that, or say "fuck this movie" if that's not how I feel, or if I think there is a glimmer of a chance it might be worth a look. And I think there might be. I could be wrong.

 

Have you guys seen Green Street Hooligans? It's a decent flick, and TL, if you haven't seen it, I think it's your kind of movie.

 

Here is the first 8 minutes of the film:

 

ON IFILM

 

And here is the trailer if you're interested:

ON YAHOO

 

 

 

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My God, some of the guys over at Superhero Hype Board are really starting to test my nerves.

 

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