Jonathan Hensleigh’s The Punisher was released in the mad comic-book scramble following 2002′s Spiderman, a period of time that included Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Catwoman, and Elektra. Like most of those films, it felt rushed and slapped together, a mediocre attempt to mainstream a character and his storyline into a generic action film.
The one thing that did work about that incarnation of Frank Castle, the grittiest of Marve’s main slate of heroes, was Thomas Jane in the titular role. He brought a kind of tired, weary heartache to Castle without losing the element of intimidation. Jane has long been on record that he’d not only like to reprise the role, but also deliver a better movie, true to the spirit of a comic character he has a lot of love for.
So, putting his money where his mouth is, Jane has gone out and made his own short film as a love letter to Frank and his storyline. It’s a gritty and hardcore (i.e. NSFW) little ditty that reminds me of the 10 pg one-off stories that would fill those Marvel supersize anthologies back in the 90s. The Punisher has never been my favorite comic character, but there’s something very effective about Dirty Laundry as it takes the usual ‘good guy pushed too far’ and ‘persecution of innocents’ themes and makes them rather poignant.
Look for Ron Perlman as the clerk behind the counter at the convenience store. Jane has unveiled this as a calling card to Marvel, no doubt. If his intention is to resurrect Frank Castle on the big screen–Ray Stevenson last played the character in 2008′s War Zone–then I think he’s got a chance of turning the right heads with this.
Here’s Jane’s statement on the whole thing. The film is below that:
”I wanted to make a fan film for a character I’ve always loved and believed in – a love letter to Frank Castle & his fans. It was an incredible experience with everyone on the project throwing in their time just for the fun of it. It’s been a blast to be a part of from start to finish — we hope the friends of Frank enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.”