Lexi Alexander Reflects On Directing PUNISHER: WAR ZONE; "Everything That Was B-Movie-Ish Was A Deliberate Choice"

Arrow director Lexi Alexander weighs in on helming Punisher: War Zone, commenting on its budget, tone, comic book inspiration, and why she doesn't regret approaching it the way she did.

It may not have been a masterpiece, but Punisher: War Zone did a great job bringing Frank Castle to the big screen in a way which reflected his portrayal in the comic books. While Thomas Jane remains a fan-favourite version of the character, I for one have always preferred Ray Stevenson, and Lexi Alexander brought a lot to the table with the movie (despite it not being a critical or commercial hit). In the video below, the filmmaker - who will soon turn her sights to Supergirl - weighs in on the experience of making Punisher: War Zone and the reception it subsequently received from fans.

I like it. The other day somebody put a clip up -- the famous parkour grenade shooting -- and here's the thing: This was the time people started getting $300 million to make [comic book movies]. I think [Christopher] Nolan was just making the second "Dark Knight" -- we heard $300 million, but it was probably even more. People were getting proper money to make these films.
Here I am, it's not even Marvel [Studios] doing it -- it's Lionsgate financing it. I'm here with $22 million making "The Punisher" and it didn't occur to me that I would be going out there compared to the big boys. I thought we were making this. And I still think that we should be making all budget levels comic book films -- they don't all have to be $300 million films, in my opinion. ... I didn't see anything wrong with it. What I didn't expect is this reaction to, "Oh my God, why didn't you do it like 'Dark Knight?'"
And I looked at all the MAX comic books, and I think that's why people like Kevin Smith and Patton [Oswalt] always gave them good reviews because they understood that I actually went directly to the comic book. And you can put the panels next to the [screen], I didn't even add anything much to it. Other than the parkour grenade shot [Laughs]. That was, "Oh, let's do this brand new thing." And I'm prouder now than I was back then because back then I thought, "maybe this does really suck." And now I'm like, no, this was a deliberate choice. Everything that was cheesy in it, over the top, B-movie-ish, was a deliberate choice. And everybody going in knew that. That was my pitch. My pitch was literally "Let's take this back to the '80s and make a B-movie, cheesy [sic] and base it on exactly this MAX series of 'Punisher.'" And we got exactly that.

Later on, I remember Patton putting it into his Soak Up the Dark Festival, and people were standing around the blocks, like two blocks for people to get in, and all of them in the screening and the Q&A said, "I didn't even know it was out." So I think we kind of got lost in the shuffle of it.


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Arrow director Lexi Alexander weighs in on helming Punisher: War Zone, commenting on its budget, tone, comic book inspiration, and why she doesn't regret approaching it the way she did.
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