Producer Joel Silver has lobbied hard for Hollywood to make a “Sgt. Rock” movie based on the popular WWII hero from DC Comics. For almost twenty years he’s brought a rotating amount of writers and directors onboard the project, hoping to convince the studio to put big money into a war movie based on a comic book that involves no superheroes. It looks like the answer was taking the project and altering it so it’s nothing like its origins at all. In the tradition of “Judge Dredd” and “Steel” we bring you a modern day “Sgt. Rock.”
Francis Lawrence, he of “Constantine,” is onboard as director, with a script from suspiciously gay-porn-named Chad St. John. Silver was extremely close to a greenlight a few years ago with director Guy Ritchie and tenuous interest from Bruce Willis, but the final point of contention was probably the era. The original character was a WWII vet who participated in every major battle during the great war, but the update would… bring Rock to Iraq? The initial reports are confusing, because it’s hard to believe the studio’s gonna throw away at least $100 million on an action picture set in the Middle East, regardless of the source. Unless the talk of bringing the character into the future involves bringing the character into OUR future. Maybe a half-cyborg Sgt. Rock?
Taking WWII out of the “Sgt. Rock” premise is such a drastic decision that they’re pretty much using the name of the character and nothing else. Which works if it’s the early nineties and the Silver production has original leading man Arnold Schwarzenegger onboard, with scripts being commissioned to explain Rock’s newfound German heritage. Nowadays, who fits this role? Robert Downey Jr. has gone on record saying its his favorite comic book character, and he’s working with Silver on “Sherlock Holmes,” so we guess that’s a possibility.
Then again, with the period change, what is this movie now? Originally conceived as a “Dirty Dozen”-type war movie, the fun and adventure takes on a different tone if its modern day, and a totally different genre if its in the future. Managing this dissonance between source and movie is integrity-less hack producer Akiva Goldsman, who has experience in the superhero realm with “Constantine” and “Batman and Robin” and generally doesn’t deserve the paycheck he’ll get from this or any movie.