Friday, July 20, 2012
DIRTY LAUNDRY: THOMAS JANE'S PUNISHER SHORT FILM
So the Punisher wakes up in the back of his van from a nightmare of his family being murdered. The event still haunts him. He gets out and goes to the laundry mat while hoods doing "hood rat things with their friends" show up and start harassing some hookers. The leader of this gang takes one to a back alley and rapes her. Her screams can be heard but the Punisher ignores them and goes about his business. Then some kid shows up and the gang starts harassing him and begins to beat him up. Punisher ignores this and goes to a convenient store where he meets Ron Pearlman in a wheelchair. They have a discussion about bad things going on around them. We learn that the Punisher isn't the Punisher anymore he has quit the Punishing business. "Six months sober," he says. But unable to stand it anymore the Punisher becomes the Punisher once again by buying a bottle of Wild Turkey Whiskey. Then he heads out to the street where he proceeds to beat to death all the punks with his newly purchased alcohol beverage. The Punisher is back! Sort of....
Did I like it? Yes and no. I like Thomas Jane but to me Ray Stevenson is THE PUNISHER. Thomas Jane looks like Thomas Jane. Ray isn't as big of a star so he better fits the role. It is easier to imagine a "no name" rather than a big star. Stardom has a tendency to overshadow the character making the film more about the actor. See every Tom Cruise movie ever made for example. DIRTY LAUNDRY asks and answers rather nicely the question "What is the difference between punishment and justice?" I won't spoil that part of the film. There is some depth to this short. The movie starts off slow and I began to lose interest immediately but I stuck with it for the uber-violent finale. The violence is bloody and excessive which is a good thing. That is what we want to see. Bones are broke with ease protruding from the skin. Brains are blown again the wall in C.G.I. fashion but it still good. Overall a nice ending.
But the whole film feels awkward like Thomas Janes' THE PUNISHER. I just don't see Jane as THE PUNISHER. There is too much talk and I don't believe that the Punisher would be retired. Does this short take place six months after the movie where he said he would spend his life punishing the wicked? Or has he been killing for awhile and just decided to quit? Why? It is kind of hard for me to accept that the Punisher would allow a woman to be raped and do nothing about it. I don't think he would stand back for two seconds while some kid was about to get wasted either. I don't care if he is retired. There is one bad part during the fight where the lead hoodie has a gun on the Punisher and the kid jumps on his leg saving the Punisher from certain death. The Punisher was saved by some brat? That doesn't sound like the Punisher I know. I don't know. This whole short film feels like a step back in the wrong direction.
I think it is kind of cool that Thomas Jane has put so much effort into generating interest in a new Punisher film. (Starring him of course) Problem is I want another Ray Stevenson Punisher. I get sick and tired of people saying they haven't made a Punisher film that has gotten it right. That is a bunch of bull. WAR ZONE did it right. It did it perfectly. If you can't see that then you don't know the Punisher.
I will admit that while I admire Jane for going out of his way to try and make another Punisher film happen I do get a weird creepy vibe from this whole production. It reminds me of Sean Young when she wanted to be Catwoman in BATMAN RETURNS. She showed up on a talk show dressed like Catwoman and played in character. I heard she showed up to parties that Tim Burton was attending dressed like the Cat trying to get his attention. Weird. I am not going to say that Thomas Jane is that weird but I can't help but think of Sean Young when I watch this short. DIRTY LAUNDRY is a good effort and a nice companion to Thomas Janes' heavily flawed Punisher film. I just hope beyond reason that this ignites interest in another Ray Stevenson Punisher film. Hopefully we get the same director from WAR ZONE too. Not bloody likely but a nerd can dream, can't he?
BTW I do understand that by over analyzing a fan short film that I have to turn in my "Not A Virgin Anymore" card rendering me back down to "I'm A Virgin" status. Whoops. It was totally worth it......I think.