The first in recently-famed hot-shot producer Adi Shankar’s self-confessed ‘bootleg’ universe, Dirty Laundry sees the unofficial re-birth of a Marvel cult favourite. Following three failed features and an unfairly forgotten video-game, hard-knuckled anti-hero The Punisher finally returns in this lovingly-made short that capitalizes on the character’s trademark brutality.
Clearly trying to finally leave his infamous vigilante persona behind, Dirty Laundry finds ex-alcoholic Frank Castle (returning fan-favourite Thomas Jane) living in his van at the centre of a run-down neighbourhood. But when local gangsters make it difficult for him to escape his violent past, Castle snaps, and it soon becomes clear that The Punisher can never truly be retired, especially when there’s justice to be served.
Very much embracing the character’s darkest reaches (a side that the more PG-friendly Marvel Universe would never willingly support), Dirty Laundry is the very epitome of a fan-funded success. After premiering at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012, Shankar and director Phil Joanou’s film became something of a cult-hit amongst Punisher fans, spurring an entire campaign to revive the aging hero – albeit one that never really succeeded. But with Marvel now arguably one of the biggest studios in the business, and with their new, darker line of properties being green-lit through the Netflix platform (who began Daredevil in April), there may still be life left for The Punisher yet, even if it is in a slightly more censored form.
The Punisher: Dirty Laundry (2012), directed by Phil Joanou, can be watched via YouTube above. Viewer discretion is strongly advised due to very strong violence and language.