The Punisher: Vigilante or Serial Killer?

Riddle me this and answer below:

Is the Punisher a vigilante or a serial killer?

What is a vigilante

A vigilante is someone who illegally punishes someone for perceived offenses, or participates in a group which metes out extrajudicial punishment to such a person. Often the victims are criminals in the legal sense, however a vigilante may follow a different definition of criminal than the local law.  (wikipedia)

What is a serial killer

A serial killer is a person who murders three or more people over a period of more than thirty days, with a "cooling off" period between each murder, and whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification.  Often, a sexual element is involved with the killings. The murders may have been attempted or completed in a similar fashion and the victims may have had something in common; for example, occupation, race, appearance, sex, or age group. (wikipedia)

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The fine line between hero and villain

It's a fun questions because this raises the question between when does a hero cross the line and becomes a villain.  There is the fine line between someone doing justice for their society and when someone crosses the line still currently convenient because they are removing other dangerous elements but are a danger to the society.  A lot of the distinction is born out of their motivations that gets them started, their intentions at the time of confrontation, and how they resolve their conflict.

The Punisher is a serial killer.  He started as a vigilante moving beyond the law driven by revenge for his lost loved ones.  This motivation has no difference from Batman.

The Punisher's intention at the time of apprehension is that of murder.  He judges and then executes one of the most severe sentences upon his opponents and that is what stands him apart as a serial killer.  Batman's intention at the time of apprehension is to stop the crime not destroy the criminal.

Thus The Punisher has murdered more than three people, does so purely for his psychological gratification, revenge, and the victims have something in common being perceived by him as criminals.

Continue the conversation in the comments below.

Does making a distinction between the Punisher's portrayal in movies versus the comics make a difference?

Thanks to dashPunk Member John the Rogue Demon Hunter for bringing this weeks question.

DVD Releases: March 17th, 2009

Out this week we have six DVD’s to feature: Sword Masters: The Duel of the Century, Ghost Hunters: Season 4, Pt. 2, Twilight, Punisher: War Zone, The Spectacular Spider-Man.

  • Sword Masters: The Duel of the Century: a Shaw Brothers film.  Liu Yung and Sun Chien team to investigate the martial-art murders of a supposedly mortally wounded swordsman, only to find deception, death, double-dealings, imposters and one deadly duel after another.  I’m very curious about this film it makes me think of The Duel which rocked, plus it’s a Shaw Brothers film which any wuxia fan can appreciate.
  • Ghost Hunters: Season 4, Pt. 2:  they travel from a sanitarium which has placed 911 calls to the police -- but there is no phone in the building! -- to the most haunted ship in the U.S. Navy. Then go to a tavern in a TAPS member's own hometown where customers are heard enjoying a game of pool but the hall is closed and empty, and a home where a small child hears voices and has unexplainable scratches on his body. TAPS even goes to the plantation seen in "Interview with a Vampire" where 35 tourists all witnessed the same paranormal activity at the same instant!
  • Twilight:  I will probably rent this one I love vampire movies but i’m concerned about this one.  Read the full review here Twilight - The Movie.
  • Punisher: War Zone:  I doubt that I will see this movie.  I like Punisher and would love to see a good Punisher movie but I have little hope that this will be one.  Read the full review here Punisher: War Zone Review.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 2:  these are not the show from the 90’s its a 90 minute single disc featuring the rise of the super-villains.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 3:  these are not the show from the 90’s its a 90 minute single disc in which the goblin strikes

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Punisher: War Zone Review

punisherwarzoneposter.jpgReview of:  Punisher: War Zone Overall Rating:  4   "ALP (Avoid Like Plague): You'd tell your friend to get the hell out if they brought it over and insisted on watching it."

Punisher or Punishment? After spending a long time stewing over Punisher: War Zone. I realized that I both loved and hated the movie for what it was supposed to be, and what it could have been.

As it was presented, Punisher was an insipid boom fest that fell below even the standards of other boom fests such as the video game to movie rendition of Hitman.  To add insult to injury the director stripped 10 minutes of footage that actually had plot in it to make Punisher more of a boom fest and falling short of both.

The entire aim of Punisher: War Zone was to show that Frank Castle still had a human side to him.  In order to sell the movie to the masses they left that idea on the cutting room floor and put out an example of bad speculative fiction.


  • The actions scenes were well executed.
  • The flow of the movie went smoothly, although some parts of the time line are condensed.
  • A small edifying moment when it shows that good can and must persevere the monstrosities of the world to come out on top.
  • Not a reboot as was stated in early reports about the movie. It was more of a rewrite of his past.


  • The director set out to make a martial arts boom boom, rather than a good piece of speculative fiction.
  • Dialogue between main villains seems like the work of a cheap porn script writer.
  • Only a remnant of the plot was left in, detracting from the martial arts boom boom; but not satisfying the need for an actual plot.
  • Characters are confused about when in the Punisher time line they exist. Depending on what statement you take from the movie they are either 4 or 6 years down the line after the murder of Castle's family.
  • Not a true sequel as I had hoped when I discovered it wasn't actually a reboot.

With all aspects that I can see taken into consideration, feeling that it would leave both people who love a good plot and a good martial arts boom boom disatisfied I give Punisher: War Zone a 4 out of 10. It goes on my do not watch list.

Not Another Reboot Movie Punishment

In recent years we've seen franchise reboot after franchise reboot. The Hulk, Batman, Star Trek, The Punisher just to name a few. And now we have yet another reboot of...The Punisher? In word handed down via interview for iFMagazine with director Lexi Alexander, the movie is

More of a reboot like THE INCREDIBLE HULK, than a direct sequel to the 2004 reboot that starred Thomas Jane, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE stars Ray Stevenson (ROME) as Frank Castle, a one-man avenging force out to take down all organized crime in retribution for the death of his family many years ago.

Now I have nothing nothing against reboots if they are properly done, but it seems Hollywood has gotten lazy. It was only four years ago that the last reboot of The Punisher franchise was done, and I loved it. Now they're doing it again and saying they'll do the same story even better. No longer are they willing to spend the money for original ideas they are settling for rebooting reboots. We need fresh ideas, fresh creative works, new blood. This trend is unacceptable. Make Hollywood take notice, that we are a force to be reckoned with and will not be placated with the same stories over and over and over again. If you see a fan film support it, if you like an indie film buy it, if they have merchandise wear it.

Theater or Renter: December 2008

Theater or Renter: December 2008 includes 4 movies Punisher: War Zone, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Tale of Despereaux, The Spirit.  Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?

Punisher: War Zone:

punisherwarzoneposter Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date: Dec 5, 2008

Listed as: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Studio: Lionsgate

Director: Lexi Alexander

Produced by: Avi Arad, Gale Anne Hurd

Written by: Nick Santora, Lexi Alexander, Matt Holloway, Arthur Marcum

Stars: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, Dash Mihok, Colin Salmon, Doug Hutchison, T. J. Storm, Mark Camacho, Keram Malicki-Sánchez

The Plot / Story: Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante anti-hero Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) sets his sights on overeager mob boss Billy Russoti (Dominic West). After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengeance under his new alias: Jigsaw. With the "Punisher Task Force" hot on his trail and the FBI unable to take Jigsaw in, Frank must stand up to the formidable army that Jigsaw has recruited before more of his evil deeds go unpunished. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

The Day the Earth Stood Still:

thedaytheearthstoodstill2008poster Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date: Dec 12, 2008

Listed as: Drama, Sci-Fi

Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Director: Scott Derrickson

Produced by: Paul Harris Boardman, Gregory Goodman, Erwin Stoff

Written by: David Scarpa, Ryne Douglas Pearson

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, John Cleese

The Plot / Story: The film updates Cold War themes like nuclear warfare to more contemporary ones, such as "humans vs. nature" and humanity's generally violent nature towards itself.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

A more accurate and updated Plot / Story: The Day The Earth Stood Still is about how human society lives in a solipsistic state of mind where they treat each other as poorly as they treat their environment and give into their terrible and violent nature.  The collection of other alien societies decide that they must save the earth from the humans since there are so few planets in the galaxy that can support complex life forms.  Now Helen Benson and her son Jacob must convince Klaatu that humans do have the will to change but only after they are brought to the precipice by a tragedy.

The Tale of Despereaux:

thetaleofdesperauxposter Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date: Dec 19, 2008

Listed as: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Studio: Universal Pictures

Director: Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen

Produced by: Gary Ross, Allison Thomas

Written by: Kate DiCamillo, Will McRobb, Gary Ross, Chris Viscardi

Stars: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Robbie Coltrane, Christopher Lloyd, Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman

The Plot / Story: Based on the 2003 fantasy book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo.  Banished from his home for being more man than mouse, Despereaux (Broderick) is befriended by Princess Pea (Watson) who teaches him the value of reading books (instead of eating them) as well as a fellow outcast, Roscuro the Rat (Hoffman), who is interested in hearing the stories Despereaux has learned. When Roscuro is shunned by the princess, however, he plots her kidnapping, putting Desperaux's human-sized bravery to the test. (Wikipedia)  (The Official Site)

The Spirit:

thespiritposter Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date: Dec 25, 2008

Listed as: Action, Drama

Studio: Lionsgate

Director: Frank Miller

Produced by: Michael Uslan, Deborah Del Prete, Gigi Pritzker, Ben Waisbren

Written by: Screenplay: Frank Miller  Comic Book: Will Eisner

Stars: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson

The Plot / Story: A rookie cop (Macht) returns from the dead to fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His main opposition is a former lab technician who has reinvented himself as The Octopus (Jackson), an elusive criminal mastermind who knows the secrets behind his nemesis.  Based on the newspaper strip of the same name created by Will Eisner.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

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