Crossface - Chris Benoit

Green Street Hooligans/Punisher: War Zone director Lexi Alexander has signed on to direct a feature film about former professional wrestler Chris Benoit. The biographical thriller will be based on Matthew Randazzo V‘s book Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit and the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry, and tell the story of the famous WWE (then WWF) pro wrestler who murdered his wife and 7-year-old son and then killed himself.  More details after the jump.

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Punisher: War Zone Gets R-Rating

For a comic book film based on a Marvel character, official updates on the status of Punisher: War Zone remain few and far between. Back in August, rumors circulated that the December release from Lionsgate would be re-cut for a PG-13 rating. No word from the studio was released to confirm or deny this. Today, CHUD says the film has received an R-rating from the MPAA for “pervasive strong brutal violence, language and some drug use.”

Director Lexi Alexander has kept mum about her apparent severed involvement with the production. The last update on her once loud-and-proud War Zone-centric blog begins: “Sometimes you have to remind yourself of the past to create a happy future.” Some sites have reported that there is no problem(s), basing this on the optimistic words of the film’s DP, Steve Gainer, who claims that Alexander is still on board. Weirder still, I’ve come across blogs that say this is all a publicity stunt. Have we reached the point where spray painting “Who Knows?” on a turtleshell passes for marketing savvy? If so, I’d rather see clips of people getting shot.

Slowly but surely, Punisher: War Zone is being lowered into a grave of WTF by Lionsgate. First, Lexi Alexander, director of the gorey Marvel actioner, was seemingly kicked off the project. We still don’t know what happened exactly. Her candid, rah-rah website was suddenly wiped clean of all prior updates on the film, save for a cryptic “see, hear, speak no evil” monkey post, which was later replaced by a detached entry about a friend’s Bugatti. Today, Latino Review hears that Lionsgate might edit the film for a PG-13 rating. The site speculates that The Dark Knight‘s money volcano was an influence. Strange since Lionsgate is moving forward with an R-rated Conan reboot, also being compared (of course) to TDK. But if true, this is beyond absurd. We’re almost intrigued to see them brick, given that Alexander enticed fans with boasts of hardcore bloodshed and Castle-worthy violence for months—later confirmed by this entertaining, head smashing red band clip.

If Lionsgate is reading this, all it takes is a short statement to the fans clarifying your flick’s status. I was just interviewed by a mag about the detrimental impact a studio’s silence in 2008 can have on a movie generally perceived as troubled. War Zone is becoming a prototypical botched case. Current online perception is that there are two bad-buzz nails already in this film’s coffin, and buzz wasn’t too hot to start with. All it takes is one more, like star Ray Stevenson issuing a quiet diss, and this December outing will meet a worse fate than the prior Thomas Jane Punisher. That would make Frank Castle, a character that is, uhhh, not a “college educated Ferrari engine,” 3-for-3 for movie wipeouts.

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I’ve put out the word for further confirmation from our staff—against terrible odds of hangovers and lipstick shenanigans—but a rumor is quickly circulating that Lionsgate/Marvel has kicked director Lexi Alexander off Punisher: War Zone. The film, which opens this December, is finished filming but apparently HUGE creative differences arose over…final cut? There’s a lot of speculation going around. Over at AICN, Knowles says the film’s composer is off the project as well, and Lionsgate is now transplanting the score with shitty heavy metal—as we suffered through yesterday while watching the rather kickass and ultra violent footage from Comic-Con.

Apparently Alexander’s candid potty mouth is contractually wired shut for the time being. Producer Gale Anne Hurd even announced that Alexander was on her “honeymoon” yesterday at a CC panel. Hah! Worth noting: Punisher: War Zone is probably the last R-rated film for a Marvel character we’ll see for sometime. I know that many of our readers were and remain highly skeptical of this flick, but my take is that it looks like unapologetic fun, a nice option for a double feature with Rambo or Commando. It’s also welcome—too welcome for 2008—to hear a female director speak her mind and take on the action genre. Oh, well. More as it develops….

Judging from the number of heads that explode, collapse and squirt in this new Comic Con footage for Punisher: War Zone, I imagine these luminaries attending a press screening: Rambo, Ricki-Oh, Lucio Fulci and the “Crushing Your Head” guy from Kids in the Hall. When the first trailer hit and underwhelmed fans, director Lexi Alexander responded with…

“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!!!”

Well, she certainly got her sick wish. The Lionsgate/Marvel film opens in December and looks like a pulsing guilty pleasure, unless you were expecting The Dark Knight via Frank Castle. Some guy down below will declare, “Aim higher!” And by aim higher, he means this film’s rival, a PG-13 Max Payne. So be it.

Warning: This footage is backed by the worst song I have ever heard. I recommend turning down your speakers and playing Misfits, Sabbath, Pissed Jeans, John Mayer anything but this. Also, the grindhousey faux-scratches are the size of dead twigs in a storm. Totally unnecessary.

via: IGN

Punisher War Zone Movie Poster

With the boffo box office and good worth of mouth for Wanted, we look toward the next violent and proud, R-rated comic book adaptation, Punisher: War Zone, opening this December. IGN received a new teaser poster for Lexi Alexander‘s Marvel/Lionsgate reboot starring Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle, and besides the Indiana Jones rip-off tagline (look for future “LOL: Subway Vandals” Slashfilm posts), what’s not to like. Eyeballs equal overrated.

Discuss: Improve the poster’s tagline or ditch it and come up with a better one.

Update: /Film reader, Wizard in Tights, suggests, “I have a grenade.” Haha. Good job.