Crime is running rampant! The city government is too corrupt to do anything about it! You can’t call the cops because they’re in on it! So what do you do? You throw on some fingerless gloves, some headbands, go on some really, really, really long walks past buildings that all look eerily the same and punch and kick your way to sweet, sweet justice! That was the way not of the Mandalorian, but of Streets of Rage! Now, Derek Kolstad — the same writer who created John Wick and has written all of the films, as well as the very Wick-ish Bob Odenkirk starrer Nobody — is helping to bring Streets of Rage to the big screen.
That’s the word today from Deadline, who says Kolstad wrote his script for Streets of Rage on spec. Now, in the wake of Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘s success, dj2 Entertainment — who produced Sonic — is attached to the Streets adaptation, along with The Equalizer‘s Escape Artists.
There was a time when disasters like 1993’s Super Mario Bros. and 2005’s Doom made the term “video game adaptation” about as offensive to any careful film studio as you could get. Now, with Streets of Rage being just one in a growing list of adaptations ready to jump mediums, it seems like video games are on the way to possibly one day replace comic books as Hollywood’s new watering hole. Along with the twin box office successes this year of the Sonic sequel and Uncharted, Paramount+ is seeing good returns on its Halo series. Anthony Mackie will be starring in a Twisted Metal series at Peacock and Walton Goggins will be the lead for Amazon’s Fallout show. At the same time, a Mass Effect series is in development at Amazon. Of course, we can’t forget the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. movie whose casting of Chris Pratt in the lead role has caused so much fan hate. Then there’s the long-brewing Metal Gear Solid film led by Oscar Isaac. The list just keeps going.
Streets of Rage was one of the most popular video game franchises of the ’90s. The first game was developed by Sega for the Sega Genesis and released in 1991, but would ultimately make its way to other platforms. The side-scroller performed well critically and financially. The following year brought Streets of Rage 2 and with 1994 came Streets of Rage 3. Follow a decades-long hiatus, Streets of Rage 4 came out in the summer of 2021.
Streets of Rage isn’t the only video game adaptation that Derek Kolstad is attached to, though it may be the only one still breathing. As far back as 2017, according to Comic Book, Kolstad was attached to adapt the Hitman games for a Hulu series. The last solid news that surfaced was in March 2021 when Kolstad told Collider he wasn’t showrunning the show, but instead had written the first two episodes. He also said that, unlike in the Hitman games and both of the live-action movies, Agent 47 would have hair. This past March, however, David Bateson — who does most of the voice work for Agent 47, told Comic Book the project might have died.