Punisher: War Zone in Trouble - Director Lexi Alexander Off?
Yesterday we brought you a ridiculously violent red band trailer for the holiday-slated Punisher: War Zone. The material caught us a bit off guard, considering the first, albeit subdued, teaser we saw back in June. Personally, I think this is a sign that Lionsgate is getting a bit desperate and that Punisher is headed for a bloody box office crash. I'm more convinced of this today given director Lexi Alexander's absence from the Comic-Con panel for the film, and allegations brought to light by our friends over at Ain't It Cool News. Despite producer Gale Anne Hurd's statements that Alexander missed the event due to her "honeymoon," AICN is reporting that the director is actually off the project entirely, along with the film's composer, meaning we've got another studio butchered film. Can I get a collective uh oh?
Now, the news is still pretty hazy at this point, and we can't expect the director to clear the air anytime soon; AICN is also claiming (via an insider they're fittingly calling Jigsaw) that she's wrapped up in a non-disclosure agreement. However, I'm struggling to figure out a reason why the director would leave the project. The rumoring indicates that Lionsgate aims to market the film "HARDCORE." This makes a bit of sense considering the latest trailer and the heavy metal crap that runs through it - a change of direction that also supposedly got the film's original composer clipped. But I can't imagine that taking the film in a "HARDCORE" direction would be reason enough for Alexander to leave the project. After all, throughout production she's been a huge proponent of the blood and violence that saturates the Punisher's world. She said of the lame teaser trailer in June:
"I am utterly impressed, though, they managed to find that much PG rated action footage at all. It had to be a challenge to cut a trailer from our action stuff without showing any gore and blood. I’ve been told that you can’t even show heads blowing up in red-band trailers. I hope that’s not true because that would suck. It’s weird to see Castle shoot all those bullets and not see the thugs who are catching them. That's the best fucking part about it!!!"
It seems the latest trailer falls directly in line with Alexander's vision. So what gives? The exact reasons may not be known at this time, but what's on the director's personal website is pretty telling - all the posts have been removed and in their place is a graphic of the "Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil" monkeys. For the longest time Lionsgate was using her blog posts as a major selling point, pushing them to websites like our for coverage, but indeed they've been entirely removed. What does that tell you?
All of this said, and despite my affinity for the Frank Castle comic book character, Punisher: War Zone is going to erupt in a lifeless mess come December, not unlike the bad guys' in the latest trailer. And speaking of, what's with the "right round" spinning and shooting ala Hitman (or even Boondock Saints) and hanging from a chandelier no less? I like Alexander's work on Green Street Hooligans and feel for her if indeed she's been booted from a project she's been so enthusiastic about, but I can't say I'm excited for Punisher. Lionsgate is only going to make things worse by grabbing at straws at the 11th hour and so far it doesn't sound good. This seem consistent with almost all of Marvel's recent films, like The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, even if we couldn't tell in the final result. So why does this keep happening?
Reader Feedback - 24 Comments
Good. The first one was awful and now they're attempting a sequel without Tom Jane? I hope this project turns out to be a professional disaster for everyone involved. Then maybe studios will think twice before trying to pump out a half-assed comic-book adaptation sequel, just because they're too lazy to generate original, creative source material.
B-Rabs on Jul 26, 2008
Why does everyone love Tom Jane so much? He's good, but he's not good for the Punisher.
DCompose on Jul 26, 2008
Ohh... that's too bad. I thought Thomas Jane was a great Punisher :/
LW on Jul 26, 2008
I just saw the extended trailer and it looks like a gore fest without any sense. And the previous movie sucked too. It's tough to see a great character being poorly treated all the time. The movie that got closer (IMHO) to the real deal was the old one with Dolph Lundgren. Even being weak as a movie, it was better than these two, I'm sure.
rml on Jul 26, 2008
Whatever. the trailer and footage looks so f*in sick im still seein this.
JLC on Jul 26, 2008
Jane is and always will be the punisher to me.
Buttons on Jul 26, 2008
dude i mean dude,that last trailer was insane, why would they do this
Drake on Jul 26, 2008
If you read the Max Comic. I do not see how you can not want to see this movie. It almost, looks like a Max Comic with some dude who kind of looks like punisher.
Grazatron on Jul 26, 2008
Not the slightest bit surprised if the director got the boot. The latest trailer looked like a complete piece of shit.
Colin (brother of Mike) Hunt on Jul 26, 2008
wow... lokks like its up to Dolph Lundgren to breing the Punisher back... lolololololol :1
Carlos on Jul 26, 2008
I would still bet that on the bottom line Punsher: War Zone will do better than The Spirit (maybe not in gross, but in profitablity). I would not be siprised if it grosses more as well. Also, there is is a diffrent trailer than the heavy metal gore one. That one has more of the actual movie then just kills.
goudos on Jul 26, 2008
from the look of both trailers it seems like the Director hasn't ever read a Punisher comic in her life anyway, like 90% of Marvel fans people misinterpret the Punisher and make him a gun toting nut instead of a cool headed strategist that would NOT hang upside down from a ceiling.
The Delightful Deviant on Jul 26, 2008
Thsi is BAD news. Sounded intresting at first, a new female director. Since Marvel takes all of the money blow now, I say that is why they are calling the final cuts. IRON MAN was a giant success but HULK barely broke even so I am sure now they are really nervous for this one.
Ryan on Jul 26, 2008
@12 He was a gun toting nut in the War Zone comic, hehe. Anyways though, it looks like a real fun movie NOT to take serious in the least, like comparing it to Rambo, The whole spinning blindly thing, no thanks
L on Jul 26, 2008
Wonder if it had to do with money. Either way, "I confused". (not another teen movie)
vu on Jul 26, 2008
Why does this article make it sound like Marvel are the bad guys here? Marvel has very little to do with this film. Punisher is still done by Lionsgate. The only Marvel film studio movies done so far are Hulk and Iron Man
ben on Jul 26, 2008
Movie Cut Down To PG-13 Rating :[ Not $ :] Torrent :]
SilverWolf on Jul 27, 2008
Its all good, evidently we can just reboot movies now until we get them right. maybe the next one will e done by the Nolans.
Breach on Jul 27, 2008
movie looks horrible.
bret on Jul 27, 2008
I just want to point this out... the Punisher comics are (at their core) violent crime stories. In the later years, they've gotten gorier and more extreme. So when you do a Punisher movie, wouldn't it reflect the same feeling as the source material? Why did the first Hulk movie suck? Not enough of the Hulk smashing shit. Why was the recent Hulk movie awesome? The Hulk smashes shit. Personally, I think that movies based off things like comics need to focusing on fans of those comics first. I think any true Punisher fan would like the trailers. I still read Punisher and I think these trailers really nail the feeling of the book; which is Frank Castle shooting the fuck out of people.
Grogcore on Jul 28, 2008
I agree very much with Bret.
Harish on Jul 28, 2008
I meant Grogcore! Heh, what a mistake.
Harish on Jul 28, 2008
i agree with grogcore too.and i think that they shouldn't have kicked lexi out of the project.and we should definitely hear what lexi has to say about it.oh and about all the fans that said that the movie is awful and they prefer the tomas jane version,i'm sure that they've never even touched a punisher comic.this movie is true seems to be true to the source material with emphasis on the max series.so all you haters do yourselves a favor and check the comics before you post.
JIM on Jul 30, 2008
They should have paid Thomas Jane Triple to come back for this film. The 1st sucked balls and the only redeeming feature was Thomas Jane's presence. This new guy is not Frank Castle. Bollocks to this movie just for the fact the casting is messed up. Also Macnulty from The Wire is Jigsaw? Are you sure. Bring back Dolph and Louis Gossett Jr! All is forgiven!!
Mr P on Sep 19, 2008
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