Thomas Jane Makes his Triumphant Return as The Punisher. Sort of.


Thomas Jane in Dirty Laundry Short Film

There was a lot of things wrong with Jonathan Hensleigh’s 2004 take on the Punisher (setting the movie in sunny Florida, for one), but Thomas Jane as the titular Marvel Comics vigilante was definitely not one of them. I always thought Jane got dealt a bad card back then, including a writer/director who really didn’t “get” the character. (What was that thing with the apartment full of misfits again?) It’s a shame Jane never got to reprise the role in a darker sequel, but thankfully there are places like Comic Con to remedy such injustice.

Jane brought a Punisher short film titled “Dirty Laundry” to a panel he was doing with artist Tim Bradstreet. The panel was about their upcoming comic book projects, but “Dirty Laundry” was definitely the main, surprise treat for those in attendance. You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Jane is a real comic book geek. Go figure.

Jane says about the project:

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.

Warning: this is what you would call a “hard R” short film. It’s got colorful language and gets pretty damn violent. We’re not talking about a goof video here. Jane and company really took the effort to make this thing as good a “Punisher story” as possible. You could almost imagine this as one of those mini-stories that would pop up in a comic book Annual that runs, say, 10 pages and involves something as quirky as the Punisher going to do laundry and getting into mischief anyway.

And oh yeah, Ron Perlman cameo alert!

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at)
  • Mark Davison

    The misfits were actually from lifted (as long with a bunch of other plot elements) from a punisher comic (“The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank” i think), Like the ‘sequel’ , the movie was a collection of bits from the comic sewn together rather than its own beast so to speak (and weirdly , kinda bothg)

  • Juggernaut

    That is what a Punisher film should look like. Wjile I didn’t have a problem with Ray Stevenson in the role, Thomas Jane was a perfect fit to me. Really a great short. Hopefully with Marvel having the rights back and Jane obviously on board we could see a true adaptation in the future.

    • edge007

      I’d like to see this, too, but IDK, the idea of Marvel/Disney actually releasing an ‘R’ rated comic book movie? Seems unlikely.

      • Juggernaut

        Agreed. Although, I’m sure an more mature branch of the Marvel/Disney properties had to have been explored. There are a lot of characters in the Marvel U that have questionable material and fall in the grey area. If Marvel were ever to re-aquire the rights to Venom, Ghost Rider or even Wolverine thay’d all have a more adult feel.

  • Vooo

    In Jane’s punisher he commented that “he gets upset when the yankees win the series”. booooo now he’s a fan.

  • Shazam!

    I’m not sure what about this is so amazing. Is uber violence all that makes the Punisher who he is? .

    Apart from the absolutely terrible acting of Dominic West I actually thought War Zone was great in tone! And what is Thomas Jane’s beef with actually wearing the t-shirt?! He seems to avoid it to the point of giving it away!

    • Juggernaut

      Uber violence is not ALL that The Punisher is but it is a large part of his characterization. There are a lot of facets to the comics that make Punisher a cool character and he still hasn’t been done correctly in a live action itteration. This short capitalized on what the 2003 Thomas Jane film lacked, a kick as Frank in a New York setting.
      As for Jane not sporting the skull emblem I think that for this piece it works. It is a revelation of sorts that gives the viewer a pay off at the end.

      • Shazam!

        Fair enough, I should have prefaced my response by saying that my comment was in response to the general reception that this short is getting on the web.

        I just think the violence is all they focused on instead of, like you said, some of the untapped aspects of FC. Having him sit there while a woman is raped and a child is beat up by 6 guys, only to then go and buy a freakin yoohoo before finally acting… doesn’t show me much of how much TJ apparently gets this character. I feel the same way towards Hugh Jackman and the joke that was Origins. IMO, if you love the character so much, then walk away from a version that departs so much. You that Fox would have gone ahead with that joke without Jackman at the helm?

        Sorry… Got off on a bit of a rant there. It just bugs me when characters get boiled down so much… and even still miss the mark.

        • Nix

          You can’t ask actors to “walk away” from a potential movie franchise based on a character that they love, dude. I’m sure they were all hoping it would turn out better than it did, a movie goes through so many hands, it’s hard to “see” where it’s going until it gets there. In both cases, I’m sure they were hoping that the film does well enough that they can exert more control in the sequel, which seems to be what Jackman is doing with “The Wolverine”. Jane never got that chance, unfortunately.

          • Shazam!

            For the sake of playing devils advocate – why can’t I ask that of actors? Actors walk away from, or threaten to walk away from projects all the time because the pay day isn’t right (I.e. Sam Jackson and the Nick Fury role)m why can’t I expect actors who supposedly have deep love for these characters to walk away if it isn’t right?

            It’s widely reported that both Jackman and Berry asked for bigger parts and bigger money for their characters in X3 and the result was a complete disaster!

            I jus don’t think it’s wrong to expect a little integrity – the rest of us are asked to exercise it in our jobs – why is it wrong to ask it of movie stars?

            Just sayin…

          • Nix

            Whatever. I already lost interest in this conversation.

          • Shazam!

            Mature, wow – I think I just lost interest in this site.

          • Nix


        • Juggernaut

          I see what you’re saying and completely agree with the lack of action Frank took. Letting the woman be raped and the kid beaten was pretty dumb. Frank should have taken action much sooner.

          The studio should have responsibility for the integrity of a character not the actors portraying those characters no matter how much that actor supposedly loves or “gets” the material. Nuff’ said!

    • Dedpool

      He was washing the shirt. I thought that was actually a clever little moment. Besides he doesn’t walk around rocking the shirt all day. That’s like wearing a billboard that says “Hey everyone, I’m the Punisher, but I’m just doing my laundry, go about your business.” LOL

  • Guest

    Fucking bang on! :)

  • I am a Ro Beast

    Ray Stevenson can’t be in the Punisher sequel coz he is playing a warrior God in Thor, Thomas Jane should be the Punisher and make the movie before everybody gets old…

  • ErickKwon

    Wow. Really is a shame that Jane didn’t get to do a second film that ironed out some of the original’s problems. And what the hell is that bottle made of that it kept together so well??

    • Dedpool

      You’ve never drank a big bottle of Jack huh? Those things are ridiculous!!!

  • Dedpool

    That was suitably badass!! I liked Jane as the Punisher as he seemed more realistic. I liked the tone of that film but the setting was offf, and yes there wasn’t enough action,but i liked the measured, tactical way he took everyone out. I liked WarZone as well but the tone got a little too tongue in cheek. A good balance of the two would work. I still say a Punisher tv series is the way to go, and this kinda proves it.

  • ErickKwon

    On repeat viewing, I wonder if the line about six months sober also meant six months of semi-retirement from “working?” Up until he steps up, he reminded me of the apathetic and weak Bruce Wayne from the opening of “The Dark Knight Returns” and it’s not hard to imagine the short as the pre-title opener of either a movie or pay-TV show centering on The Punisher coming out of hiding. Actually, weren’t there rumors of a Punisher TV show few years ago? I forget if it was before “P: WZ” was announced or immediately after it.

    • Dedpool

      That would make alot of sense actually. Him jus trying to lead a semi normal life, and it just not working and this is what brings him out of retirement. I would love that as the premise of a Punisher show starring Jane.

      • ErickKwon

        I wish Jane could use some of his “Hung” clout to get a short-run series on HBO or something, a format long enough to adapt a well-known comic book run. Hell, I’d watch/buy a “Punisher” show even if it was nothing more than a “scumbag-of-the-week” procedural with action in the style of the short or “War Zone.”

        • Dedpool

          EXACTLY!!! That’s what i was thinking. It’d be better than all the films.

        • Juggernaut