Video game movie adaptations are having a bit of a renaissance at the moment, with potential blockbusters Tomb Raider and Rampage both arriving in theaters later this year. And now it looks like Duke Nukem could be the next gaming icon to make the transition to the big screen, complete with the absolute perfect actor portraying him.
The Hollywood Reporter claims that none other than John Cena, who looks almost exactly like Duke Nukem with his gargantuan build and flat top haircut, is in talks to portray the character in an upcoming big budget adaptation from Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and Paramount Pictures. There is no director or writer yet, but the plan is to sign Cena and then build the rest of the movie around him. Honestly, it’s not a terrible plan.
The Duke Nukem franchise began with the release of Duke Nukem for PC in 1991, which was followed by a sequel in 1993. However, the series’ biggest pop culture moment came with the release of the first person shooter Duke Nukem 3D in 1996, the first 3D game in the franchise. The game featured a very non-PC protagonist and was considered very risqué for its era, and it seems likely that this popular version of the character — a mashup of action hero tropes that wears sunglasses, smokes cigars, and shoots aliens — will be the version that the film is based around. The game franchise had just one more release in 2011, Duke Nukem Forever, which was the first game in the series available on consoles but didn’t inspire the cult following of its predecessor.
Cena certainly has the action chops and the look to pull off Nukem, and we really hope the film taps into the actor’s comedic talents that he has displayed in films like Trainwreck and Sisters. If the movie is handled with the right satirical angle and not played too straight, then it could end up resembling a modern day RoboCop or Starship Troopers, which we’re totally in favor of.