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Real Punishment?

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While I am still extremely skeptical about the new Punisher movie being any good at all, I have to admit that this article made me feel a little bit better about it.

That same focus on keeping it real is why Thomas Jane is training now with four Navy SEALs for next year’s The Punisher. Every day he goes to Huntington Beach to learn basic weapons training.

“The stuff on the wires and all that crazy dancing that was done so well in Crouching Tiger is beautiful, but it’s not very real world. We’re kind of going back to old-fashioned days — serious hand-to-hand combat without all the trickery and dancing.”

It’s scarier, he says. “Stylized violence is a way of stepping away from violence and making it palatable. With our movie, we inject a sense of here’s what happens when it really goes down.”

I tell you, this is something that’s been a long time in coming. I mean, as cool as wirework can be, it bothers the hell out of me when you see it in movies where there’s no plausible explanation for it. Like in Daredevil, for example. I dug the movie, but I was incredibly annoyed by the fact that Daredevil and Elektra–two ordinary humans–seemed to be able to jump insanely high into the air. People can’t do that!. It works in movies like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon only because there’s a reason in the story for people to be able to move that way. But without some sort of fantasy rules grounding a movie, wireworks are distracting and unbelievable, which I think distances audiences from movies.

So even though I do think that Thomas Jane is the completely wrong choice to play Frank Castle, I am gratified to know that at least there’s going to make an attempt to make the violence in the story look real. And I will say this–the movie will be all the more powerful for it. As an example, just look at Road to Perdition, which featured perhaps some of the most realistic portrayals of violence and its tools–glass cuts, bullets go through walls, and getting shot (even in the arm) sends you into shock and makes you ill. It’s high time we moved away from videogame violence in the movies and to a more realistic portrayal, if nothing else than simply because it will make movies more compelling to watch by showing the real stakes involved when people choose to employ violence.

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