Streets Of Rage Game Is Being Made Into A Movie, Why John Wick Fans Should Be Pumped
Streets of Rage is a name that will make many Gen X and Millennial gamers turn misty-eyed. A trilogy of belt-scroller titles that released for Sega's 16-bit Genesis console (known as the "Mega Drive" internationally), they were regarded as some of the very best of the beat-'em-up genre. A fourth game came out in 2020 to modest acclaim, but it seems like the franchise isn't done yet, because there's a movie on the way.
It was rumored earlier this year, but now Variety is reporting that Lionsgate has officially procured the motion picture rights to the classic Sega franchise. That wouldn't necessarily mean anything at all by itself—Lionsgate has had the rights to a Borderlands movie for awhile now—but the rumored writer and producer is confirmed to be attached now, too: Derek Kolstad, who wrote the John Wick films.
Kolstad tells Variety that he's elated by the idea as a childhood fan of the game series. Your author can relate—he spent many hours planted in front of the Sega Genesis hooked up to a 13" CRT TV trying to beat the villainous Mr. X and his evil syndicate. No, like many older games, the story in the original Streets of Rage series isn't the most creative or interesting, but frankly, neither is the story in John Wick. A solid adaptation with bone-crunching action could definitely carry the film despite a thin story.
It will be interesting to see if Kolstad's adaptation stays close to the original game, draws elements from the sequels, or is instead more similar to the recent 4th game. The original trilogy has a cadre of cops shucking their badges for vigilante-style crime-fighting in the long tradition of 1970s and 1980s films like Death Wish and Lethal Weapon. The fourth game is more of the same, but is set decades later, has a different antagonist, and fewer science-fiction elements.
The original 16-bit Streets of Rage games, known in Japan as Bare Knuckle, were developed by a studio known as Ancient. That was basically musician Yuzo Koshiro and his family and friends. He became a household name among Sega gamers worldwide thanks to putting his name on the title screens of games that he worked on. Hopefully Kolstad will get in touch with Koshiro and other Ancient members to get their input on the film.
Variety reports that other names attached to the film include Sega's Toru Nakahara, dj2 Entertainment, and the Escape Artists. Nakahara was a producer for the recent Sonic the Hedgehog live-action films, and those were rather well-received, so perhaps his involvement bodes well for this classic franchise. We wouldn't hold our breath, though; as Variety points out, video game movies are very hit-or-miss, and usually big misses.