The Punisher: Dirty Laundry ★★★★

This 2012 American fan-film short, a loose continuation of the 2004 film ‘The Punisher’, is produced by Adi Shankar and directed by Phil Joanou. It stars Thomas Jane, Sammi Rotibi, Karlin Walker, Brandee Tucker and Ron Perlman.

Frank Castle (Jane) wakes up in the back of his van, parked up in a rundown neighbourhood and commences with doing his laundry. Crossing the street, he notices a gang, led by Goldtooth (Rotibi), attack three prostitutes, leading to the rape of the lead girl (Tucker) behind the street.

Castle, hearing the screams and shouts, tries to mind his own business. When a young boy, DeShawn (Walker), tries to walk the street, he is noticed by the gang and harassed. Goldtooth gives him a choice of either working for him, or face “another option”. DeShawn bravely refuses, and is subjected to a degrading mugging.

When Castle avoids Goldtooth and heads to a store, run by Big Mike (Perlman), and the two analyse how society is rotting, Castle eventually snaps when the boy is threatened with a knife. He buys a bottle of Jack Daniels and crosses the street with one goal in mind; to punish...

A 10 minute short from producer Adi Shanker, of recent ‘Power/Rangers’ fan-film fame, this gives fans of Thomas Janes’ Frank Castle, or simply The Punisher, another slice of hard-hitting and gruesome comic-book action.

While the uncomfortable actions of the street gang, led with great menace by Sammi Rotibi, build for a good 7 minutes, we see the tortured soul of Castle trying to stay out of business that doesn’t concern him. He’s not a lawman, he’s a vigilante, and Jane has the perfect level of intensity and brooding aura about him to make sure our anti-hero is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

It’s the final minutes that deliver the chaotic violence we long for, thanks to a number of broken bones piercing the skin, an indestructible bottle of Jack Daniels and a number of poorly taken gun shots. It may not last long, but it’s a wonderful teaser for what the Punisher character should be about – unwavering violence in punishing those who pick on the helpless and innocent.

The street is bleak, the characters are equally bleak and dangerous, and with a tense soundtrack lifted from ‘The Dark Knight’ by Hans Zimmer, this short steadily cranks up the heat until we reach boiling point for a fun, guilty-pleasured slice of something we should really have more from in mainstream cinema; a dark, brutal and real Marvel anti-hero like Frank Castle.