“Streets of Rage,” a popular beat ’em up video game that first hit the scene in the 1990s, is getting the big screen treatment. Lionsgate has landed the motion picture rights to the Sega game and has enlisted Derek Kolstad, no stranger to the world of broken bones and crushed ribs from his stint writing “John Wick” and its sequels. He will write the film and produce it, apparently fulfilling a childhood ambition (mine was to be James Bond).
“When Dmitri first mentioned the idea of cracking a ‘Streets of Rage’ movie, I was so immediately freaking in,” Kolstad said in a statement. “And to play with Sega? The 10-year-old me is still grinning.”
Kolstad’s pre-teen self may be in hog heaven, but the fact remains that most video game adaptations make for awful movies. For every “Sonic the Hedgehog,” there’s an “Assassin’s Creed” or “Warcraft.” Lionsgate seems undaunted by those odds. It’s also making a movie based on the “Borderlands” video game.
“Streets of Rage” centers around a group of ex-cops who use their fists to take on a crime syndicate. The producers include Sega’s Toru Nakahara, dj2 Entertainment’s Dmitri M. Johnson, Timothy I. Stevenson, Dan Jevons and Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Tony Shaw. Nakahara produced the first two “Sonic the Hedgehog” movies and is an executive producer for “Sonic Prime,” an upcoming spinoff series.
“Streets of Rage” was one of the most beloved videogame franchises of the Clinton era, with Sega publishing three games between 1991 and 1994. In 2020, a fourth game in the series was released.