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Punisher: War Zone (2008)

lantern51

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A friend of mine is a big Punisher fan, and said that this was the movie out of the 2 he wanted to see "fixed". I haven't watched it in a while and when I went back to it to see what I wanted to do, I was like "oh boy, what did I get myself into"...

But I had a moment of inspiration. Pretty much every October, I watch the original classic, The Crow. Back when that movie was still very new but out on home video, I remember my friends mom asking if the movie was in black and white... We all know it wasn't, but it's just the color was muted for large parts of the movie. Color is a big part visually of what I see being wrong with this movie. Punisher should feel gritty, not saturated.

So I'm going to use 50% Grayscale on the movie as a whole and may do some additional color corrections where needed for specific scenes. But one other thing about me watching The Crow that I think will fit well here. I only have that movie on DVD and SD digital. I have only every watched it that way and in my mind, the little extra grit you get from the movie not being so clean in HD has become part of the movie watching experience. I don't plan to ever watch The Crow any other way. So I am going to add a little bit of noise to the movie for some grain or grit if you will.

The only thing I'm not 100% sure of is the music? The Crow is the movie that shows you how to add rock music in the right way. Punisher War Zone is how not to do it. So I know I want to rescore the movie, but I don't know if I should go with an orchestra or just better rock music from the time period? Also I don't know what to call this edit LOL so any suggestions, let me know 😁

As for cutting... I'm taking out the jumping-flippy guys, I'm cutting where I can and trimming Loony Bin Jim back because he gets really annoying, I'm also cutting where the movie overindulges itself and takes me out of the whole thing. Oh... and no more Batman 89 Joker ripoff scene.
 

Dwight Fry

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I like this idea! I LOVED Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle, he was the perfect Punisher for my tastes and wish he had made a few sequels. I always say that if I could somehow replace Lundgren with Stevenson in the 89 version, that'd be the perfect Punisher film. The War Zone movie itself, it was okay, certainly a huge improvement over the 2002 one, but not without its flaws, so I'm interested in where you're going with this! Haven't rewatched in a while so I'm not sure about specific suggestions right now, but I will.
 

lantern51

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I cut 10 seconds from just this small scene. As I mentioned before the movie likes to over indulge itself. This should be moving faster or he would be gunned down.
 

lantern51

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I like this idea! I LOVED Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle, he was the perfect Punisher for my tastes and wish he had made a few sequels. I always say that if I could somehow replace Lundgren with Stevenson in the 89 version, that'd be the perfect Punisher film. The War Zone movie itself, it was okay, certainly a huge improvement over the 2002 one, but not without its flaws, so I'm interested in where you're going with this! Haven't rewatched in a while so I'm not sure about specific suggestions right now, but I will.
Speaking of giving suggestions, I'm still not sure when I go to rescore the movie to go better rock music or orchestra? I'm leaning more to orchestra for 2 reasons though. 1. I am trying to create a movie that takes itself a bit more seriously. So maybe some Alan Silvestri would work. But the bigger reason is trying to find a list of songs from the correct area that fit different scenes and figure out what scenes should have rock music? I don't want to make the mistake of Afleck's Daredevil movie and over doing that. What do you think?
 

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I have compiled my cut list. Total cut is about 11 minutes :oops:

- Trimmed the amount of time Punisher(Frank) stands on the mobs dinner table

- Cut some of the mob people at the tables deaths. He’s sitting in one spot too long and needs to be moving faster or there is just no way he is surviving this scene.

- Speed up the kicking the soup into the guys face by 50%. Again, it just moves too slow.

- Trimmed some of the time spent hanging from the chandelier. Same reasoning as the rest of this scene.

- Cut the Jumpy Flippy Guys at the docs minus the one scene where they pick up the cash. Now when Billy say to “do your monkey thing” it now has different context, but we are not supposed to like this guy.

- Moved the scene when Billy (not jigsaw yet) finds out Nicky was a rat to after the Basement scene with Budiansky (who I will now just call Booty) and Soap meet. This way I can cut the whole plastic surgeon part that directly rips off Batman 89.

- Cut the shot of the plastic surgeon with the scissors in his head. He doesn’t exist in this cut of the movie. Now when Pittsy is looking away it’s because it’s the first time seeing Jigsaw.

- After Jigsaw breaks in to get Loony Bin Jim (LBJ) I cut the scene after LBJ says “no brother, fatso’s mine”. He get’s to become too much right away and this character needs to be dialed back. Sometimes it’s just better to hint. More creepy that way.

- Cut LBJ breaking all the mirrors. We only see him breaking one. The scene as a whole feels too silly otherwise.

- At Micros house when Frank says that he’s done Micro talks him back by reminding him that Jigsaw will be going after Mrs Donatelli and her daughter. So I cut away after Frank says Jigsaw is the last one and he’s done. Again I am cutting the jumpy flippy guys. There is no need for this subplot. Frank knows where the Donatelli’s live. He was just at their home trying to drop off cash. So him showing up to rescue them later still works because he is only staying around to stop them from getting killed anyway.

- Cut Frank and Booty fighting and Frank getting arrested. That also means he doesn’t sit in the back of the police car. Soap and Booty said earlier that they were going to be listening to the police band and listen for what crimes are happening, so if Booty hears there is a call at his friends widow’s home, it’s not odd they would also show up to check it out. We don’t need Frank to tell them to go there.

- Slight rearrangement of scenes at the Donatelli home.

- Cut Booty asking Soap how Frank escaped from the car.

- Cut LBJ making a cat sound in the interrogation room at the station.

- During the Jigsaw recruitment speech I never cut back to Jig and LBJ because I don’t like the flag floating behind them. Again the movie just goes too far. So I am using scenes from the special features and some fan films off YouTube as cutaways to represent what Jig is talking about in those moments.

- Cut scene at police station when Booty tells Soap that he is helping Soaps Partner (meaning Frank). Booty has no reason to suspect this now.

- Cut shots of LBJ walking around.

- At the raid in the Hotel, cut shot of guy smoking in the elevators head exploding.

- Trimmed fight between LBJ and Frank to remove LBJ dialog. He comes across a bit more menacing fighting silent.

- Cut Franks line at the end of the hotel scene “This is just the beginning”, It doesn’t fit.

- Cut LBJ random laughing through out the movie where I could.
 

lantern51

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I had another thought... What if instead of orchestra music, All rock music was just instrumental. Then I would be rescoring the existing orchestra music and give the movie an overall consistent feel. Punisher War Zone would lend it's self pretty well to this idea as well...
 

Dwight Fry

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I just hit play to rewatch the movie. And I like where this is going!
I cut 10 seconds from just this small scene. As I mentioned before the movie likes to over indulge itself. This should be moving faster or he would be gunned down.
Excellent job with this scene! Makes a lot more sense than the unedited one, exactly for the reason you state.

- Trimmed some of the time spent hanging from the chandelier. Same reasoning as the rest of this scene.
Have you removed the slow motion shot in that? I hope you have, I hate it, way too show-off-y.
 

lantern51

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I just hit play to rewatch the movie. And I like where this is going!

Excellent job with this scene! Makes a lot more sense than the unedited one, exactly for the reason you state.


Have you removed the slow motion shot in that? I hope you have, I hate it, way too show-off-y.
Yeah, the slow motion part was actually cut completely. I didn't feel that it worked very well in the overall scene. I don't think anything I cut here will be missed. It still feels like everything is there, but it all happens so much faster.

Right now, I'm working on the war journal screen texts. There are 4 places in the movie that I want to add it. It's a new trick for me, so I don't know how easy or not this will be to do, but I really want to add this to the movie for a different feel. A look inside Franks mind for brief moments.

I'm still not 100% on the re-score. I keep going back and forth on what to do. Some of the orchestra music they have in the movie is actually quite good. So I guess I will in the end do a mixed score depending on what I feel is going to work best. I have a song by Apocalyptica that I think will be good for the opening credits. I just need to see if I can pull the news dialog from the scene to know if I can re-score it.
 

Dwight Fry

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Yeah, the slow motion part was actually cut completely. I didn't feel that it worked very well in the overall scene. I don't think anything I cut here will be missed. It still feels like everything is there, but it all happens so much faster.

Right now, I'm working on the war journal screen texts. There are 4 places in the movie that I want to add it. It's a new trick for me, so I don't know how easy or not this will be to do, but I really want to add this to the movie for a different feel. A look inside Franks mind for brief moments.

I'm still not 100% on the re-score. I keep going back and forth on what to do. Some of the orchestra music they have in the movie is actually quite good. So I guess I will in the end do a mixed score depending on what I feel is going to work best. I have a song by Apocalyptica that I think will be good for the opening credits. I just need to see if I can pull the news dialog from the scene to know if I can re-score it.
To be honest, I found the movie worse than I remembered. I guess I hated the extremely tame 2004 movie so much that anything that came after that was any closer to how brutal the character is supposed to be, would feel like the Second Coming :LOL: but really, this only has Stevenson (who is indeed perfect) holding it together. Otherwise it's pure B-movie stuff, the script is non-existent beyond a bunch of clichés, the villains are lamentable, and the CGI splatter doesn't help. So, I agree with all your changes so far.

One suggestion for the end scene: I'd look into cutting Soap's lines after the mugger appears, all that calling for Frank and that final wisecrack. I think having Frank just show up without being called and shoot the mugger would be more effective.

As for the re-scoring, I don't feel it absolutely necessary, other than of course removing "America the Beautiful" from the recruitment scene (seriously, that whole scene is cringe, not just the flag). The overall score is generic but not terrible enough to ruin the movie. But I'm all for experimentation. I guess I'd consider going the dark ambient route (think Trent Reznor's score for the first Quake game).
 

lantern51

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To be honest, I found the movie worse than I remembered. I guess I hated the extremely tame 2004 movie so much that anything that came after that was any closer to how brutal the character is supposed to be, would feel like the Second Coming :LOL: but really, this only has Stevenson (who is indeed perfect) holding it together. Otherwise it's pure B-movie stuff, the script is non-existent beyond a bunch of clichés, the villains are lamentable, and the CGI splatter doesn't help. So, I agree with all your changes so far.

One suggestion for the end scene: I'd look into cutting Soap's lines after the mugger appears, all that calling for Frank and that final wisecrack. I think having Frank just show up without being called and shoot the mugger would be more effective.

As for the re-scoring, I don't feel it absolutely necessary, other than of course removing "America the Beautiful" from the recruitment scene (seriously, that whole scene is cringe, not just the flag). The overall score is generic but not terrible enough to ruin the movie. But I'm all for experimentation. I guess I'd consider going the dark ambient route (think Trent Reznor's score for the first Quake game).
I have a plan for the 2004 movie as well... I'm going to make it grindhouse and have some fun with it... Eventually lol. But War Zone was pretty bad though. But I think we're on the same page here. I was thinking about doing something with that ending. I'm having some "journal entries" text pop up on screen at 4 key moments in the movie. The end is one place that I'm putting one in. I'll post a sample soon. I'll have to check out the quake music! I was thinking of Rob Zombie and Filter as well...
I'm doing a big over hall on this one so I'm working in stages. First working on the visual edit's. Once I get that where I want it. Then I'm working on all the audio after that. Aside from one last journal entry I have it visually done. I'm trying to get a good part of the edit done over the holiday weekend. Hopefully I'll be able to release it by the end of the year.
 

lantern51

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I have the full opening done with the new music. Anyone who has watched this will notice the color difference. The green is nowhere as bright! Hope you like it! The song playing in the background is Apocalyptica: Cohkka.

 

Dwight Fry

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I have the full opening done with the new music. Anyone who has watched this will notice the color difference. The green is nowhere as bright! Hope you like it! The song playing in the background is Apocalyptica: Cohkka.

This works wonderfully! The music is perfect for it!
 

lantern51

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Here is the first fight scene recut and rescored. I compressed it a lot to fit minimum upload size, so visually it might not be as crisp, but the audio should be there. I added in all the sound fx myself from the point the music starts. So let me know what is or is not working. BTW... you may recognize the song playing now.
 

Dwight Fry

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Here is the first fight scene recut and rescored. I compressed it a lot to fit minimum upload size, so visually it might not be as crisp, but the audio should be there. I added in all the sound fx myself from the point the music starts. So let me know what is or is not working. BTW... you may recognize the song playing now.
Hmmm... either the sound FX are way too loud or the music is way too low. Or both.
 

lantern51

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Hmmm... either the sound FX are way too loud or the music is way too low. Or both.
Thank you! I can make the adjustments easily enough, but I always like to get another person to listen because I am always questioning the audio mix levels. I planned to go back over this again because there are some fx I didn't care for, so I will also correct this as well.
 

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Yes, the music volume is very low and some SFX are too high. The new SFX is good, but is missing (or too low) in some places . A suggestion: you could add some bone breaking and some wet "sploosh" effect when the guy is attacked with the chair! :LOL:
 

lantern51

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@Urban Monitor Just used your suggestion. After posting the updated version of this scene if you have anymore, let me know. I might use some of them as well 😁
 
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