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Punisher: War Zone is a 2008 comic book action film directed by Lexi Alexander; based on the fictional Marvel Comics vigilante/anti-hero the Punisher. It is the third film to depict the Marvel character Frank Castle (the Punisher). The film is a reboot that follows the original telling of Castle's war on crime and corruption rather than a sequel to 2004's The Punisher and is the first film to be produced under the Marvel Studios and Marvel Knights production banner, which focuses on films for mature audiences. Irish actor Ray Stevenson replaced Thomas Jane as Castle. In the film, Castle wages a one-man war against a horribly disfigured mob boss known as Jigsaw (Dominic West). Punisher: War Zone was released in North America by Lionsgate on December 5, 2008, and was released in the United Kingdom on February 6, 2009
Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson), who by now has been the Punisher for five years, assaults a party for mob boss Gaitano Cesare. Billy Russoti (Dominic West) escapes to his recycling plant hideout, and Detectives Martin Soap (Dash Mihok) and Saffiotti (Tony Calabretta), who were staking out the party, inform Castle. Castle infiltrates Russoti's hideout, and after a brief firefight, Russoti is thrown into a glass-crushing machine that leaves him hideously disfigured. Russoti later refers to himself as "Jigsaw" because the stitches in his face resemble puzzle pieces. Castle, who takes cover behind the body of Nicky Donatelli (Romano Orzari), discovers that Donatelli was actually an undercover agent.
Agent Paul Budiansky (Colin Salmon), the deceased agent's partner, joins the NYPD's "Punisher Task Force", partnering with Soap to help bring Castle to justice. Meanwhile, Jigsaw frees his deranged and cannibalistic brother, "Loony Bin Jim" (Doug Hutchison).
Distraught over killing the agent, Castle attempts to make reparations to Donatelli's wife, Angela (Julie Benz), and daughter, Grace (Stephanie Janusauskas), to no avail. Castle threatens to retire from the vigilante business, but his armorer, Microchip (Wayne Knight), forces him to reconsider, telling him Jigsaw will go after Donatelli's family for revenge.
Jigsaw, Loony Bin Jim, and two goons, Ink and Pittsy, break into Donatelli's house and hold the family hostage. The Punisher tracks down Maginty (T. J. Storm) a known associate of Jigsaw, executing him after extracting the information before being apprehended by Budiansky and Soap. Castle tells him Jigsaw went after Donatelli's family, and Budiansky sends a police car to check on the Donatelli house, intending to turn the Punisher in. When the patrol car fails to respond, Budiansky checks on the house, where he is captured by Ink and Pittsy. Soap frees the Punisher, who kills Ink and Pittsy before leading Donatelli's wife and daughter away. Budiansky then arrests Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim after a short gun fight.
Jigsaw and his brother bargain with the FBI for their release by giving up Cristu Bulat (David Vadim), who was smuggling in a biological weapon destined for Arab terrorists in Queens, New York. The brothers are granted immunity, plus the US$12 million Bulat was paying to use Jigsaw's port, and a file on Micro. They take Micro hostage, killing his mother in the process. They once again take the Donatellis hostage, after critically injuring Micro's associate Carlos, whom Castle had left to protect them. Castle later arrives at the hideout, and euthanizes Carlos. Jigsaw sets himself up in the Bradstreet Hotel, hiring a small private army of criminals. Castle enlists the help of Budiansky, who informs Cristu's father, Tiberiu Bulat (Aubert Pallascio), where Jigsaw is located. Tiberiu's goons start a shootout in the hotel lobby, affording Castle a distraction.
Castle enters through a second-floor window, leading to a firefight with Jigsaw's hired guns. Afterward, Castle engages Loony Bin Jim in hand-to-hand combat; outmatched by his brute speed and agility, but eventually gets his upper hand. Realizing he will probably not survive the brawl, Jim runs away. Castle chases him and confronts both him and Jigsaw, who are holding Micro and Grace Donatelli at gunpoint. Jigsaw gives Castle a choice: If Frank shoots Micro, Jigsaw will let the others go free. Micro bravely offers his life to save the girl, but Castle chooses to shoot Loony Bin Jim instead. As a result, Jigsaw kills Micro. Enraged by the loss of his partner, Castle attacks Jigsaw, eventually impaling him with a metal rod and throwing him onto a fire. As Jigsaw burns to death, Castle calmly tells him, "This is just the beginning." Outside, Angela forgives Castle, who bids farewell to Budiansky and the Donatelli family. As Castle and Soap leave together, Soap tries to convince Castle to give up his vigilante status after having "killed every criminal in town." Soap however changes his mind when he is attacked by a murderous mugger who quickly becomes another victim of the Punisher.
- Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle / The Punisher
- Wayne Knight as Linus Lieberman / Microchip
- Doug Hutchison as James Russoti / Loony Bin Jim (LBJ)
- Colin Salmon as Paul Budiansky
- Dominic West as Billy Russoti / Jigsaw
- Dash Mihok as Detective Martin Soap
- Romano Orzari as Nicky Donatelli
- Julie Benz as Angela Donatelli
- Stephanie Janusauskas as Grace Donatelli
- Larry Day as FBI Agent Miller
- Ron Lea as NYPD Captain Ross
- Tony Calabretta as Saffiotti
- T.J. Storm as Maginty
- Mark Camacho as Pittsy
- Keram Malicki-Sánchez as Ink
- Carlos Gonzalez-vlo as Carlos Cruz
- David Vadim as Cristu Bulat
- Aubert Pallascio as Tiberiu Bulat
- Edward Yankie as Father Mike
- John Dunn Hill as Cesare
- Cas Anvar as Plastic Surgeon
- Pat Fry as Asylum Orderly
- Bjanka Murgel as Arm Candy