February 2009 Films

February 1st, 2009 Film, Film Reviews, Penthouse

Pride and Glory

We’ve seen this story before. Films from Joe Carnahan’s Narc and Dark Blue to David Ayer’s Street Kings are close cousins to Gavin O’Connor’s love letter to working class New York cop families. Scripted by Carnahan, it could have been just another gritty urban cop drama in lesser hands.

But sharp dialogue and strong dramatic chops lift it into very affecting territory. Great work from masters of the craft (Norton) and actors who’ve appeared in their fair share of duds (Voight and more recently Farrell) make it something special.

A nasty kernel of corruption is sprouting, and damaged cop Ray (Norton) is convinced by his ex-cop Dad (Voight) to lead the task force to crack it open. The stink leads him closer to his own brother in law, streetwise cop Jimmy (Farrell) and Jimmy’s commander (and Ray’s brother) Francis (Emmerich), and threatens much more than family disloyalty.

Punisher: War Zone

A five-minute search of YouTube will turn up an early trailer for Punisher: War Zone with so much liberal claret- splashing it looked like there’d finally be a movie worthy of the Marvel comics title, unlike the turgid 1989 effort (shot in Sydney, for trivia buffs) or Jonathan Hensleigh’s 2004 misfire.

You might not know the Frank Castle mythology, but like Batman and The Crow before him, the killing of his family drove him to a vengeful quest to rid the streets of crime — a remorseless, stoic-eyed and extremely brutal vigilante.

There isn’t a lot of plot to be explored, so the story is another bigger and badder criminal mastermind takedown. But the backing of Lionsgate is a good sign. With a keen eye for horror, the US studio should ensure it’s a blistering shoot-em-up for grown-up gorehounds. By the time you read this of course, the Office of Film and Literature classification might have gutted Punisher: War Zone beyond recognition.

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