Off the back of the success of the Sonic The Hedgehog movies, dj2 entertainment are hot on the heels to follow up with even more video game adaptations for film and television. Among the titles that dj2 have secured, Streets of Rage is the latest in a long line of production announcements… or is it?
Deadline reports that John Wick creator Derek Kolstad wrote the script on spec (which is to say without a studio deal) and that dj2 will produce the adaptation alongside Escape Artists, the studio behind The Equalizer franchise. However, upon researching a little further on ye’ olde world wide web, I came across old articles of both Streets of Rage and Altered Beast being in production as far back as 2016 by Fear the Walking Dead producer Circle of Confusion!
Streets of Rage first hit consoles on the SEGA Megadrive (Genesis in the U.S.) back in 1991, with Streets of Rage 2 and 3 launching in consecutive years. You play as ex-cop turned vigilantes (And later titles their friends/siblings) who are fed up with the crime and internal corruption of the police force within their city and band together to take down the evil Mr. X and his syndicate - risking their lives to take back the Streets Of Rage. 26 years after the third game, Streets of Rage 4 released with a resounding cheer from fans and critics alike… see my review, it’s an absolute must play.
Confirmed by their website, dj2 are currently producing Video Game Award winner, It Takes Two, Life Is Strange, Disco Elysium, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, My Friend Pedro, Little Nightmares, Ruiner, Echo and a live-action TV series based on the Oz books. However, Streets of Rage despite the announcement is strangely missing from the lineup of projects. It goes without saying that it seems impossible to juggle this many projects and the lack of presence on their own website begs me to wonder if a Streets of Rage movie has truly been announced at all. It would seem that the buzz over Kolstad’s more recent involvement with other video game adaptations like Netflix’s Splinter Cell animated series has stirred the hype around his older scripts, most notably Streets of Rage.
Adding to the hype, dj2 have also recently signed a “First Look” deal with Amazon Studios that sees them creating and producing content that will exclusively stream on Prime Video, including TV adaptations of gaming IP. So, while it doesn’t seem 100% certain that a Streets of Rage film is in production, it wouldn’t be unfeasible for the future… if dj2 have picked up Kolstad’s old script from 2016 or if he’s rewriting it. I could argue that these deals are simply a clever way of ensuring that nobody but dj2 can produce these video game titles for the big screen while they continue to build a legacy of specialising in the production of video game adaptations.
Of course, I’m happy to be proven wrong and my only hope is that they can retain the arcade feel of the games with the visuals, music and co-operative/high-adrenaline action scenes that also made John Wick such a success. Personally, I’m going to wait for some more concrete evidence before I get too excited with either casting announcements or trailers.