Because contemporary audiences have gotten way too much of World War II, the long-aborning Sgt. Rock movie is getting a boot to the future. Francis Lawrence (I AM LEGEND, CONSTANTINE) is set to direct.

Until now, “Rock” has retained its World War II setting, with Silver and the studio trying to make a big-budget action adventure movie that was a throwback to flicks like “The Dirty Dozen,” which feature acts of American derring-do.

But a big budget always was an obstacle and, “Inglourious Basterds” notwithstanding, period war movies have not been in vogue in Hollywood for years, unless it was a more serious contemplation of the subject like “Saving Private Ryan.” Also, American jingoism went out of style after 9/11; even this summer’s G.I. Joe movie dropped the toy’s “A Real American Hero” tagline and made the action team internationally focused.

The studio hopes moving the time period to the future solves the dilemma.

Sure, and then they can also blow away soulless robots and clones, and no one will have to feel bad about actual people getting killed, too!


  1. oK, Sgt Rock in the future. The future, for a character that has lived in WW2.

    Hmm, are we talking OUR future? If so, 2010 and beyond. Or HIS future, so any time after 1945. Very vague, and troublesome.

    Could be: Sgt Rock in Korea; or Vietnam; or sneaking around in the jungles of Central America; or over in Afghanistan. OR, could be Sgt Rock on the moon, fighting BEMs, and aliens with spacecraft and the whole “V” scene.

    Glad we got that settled.

  2. I loved Hex as much as the next guy, but this sounds like a really dumb idea.

    Why even call it Sgt. Rock if it’s not in WWII? What’s the point?

  3. Marvel has already done this with Captain America (and Nick Fury).

    DC has already done this with Jonah Hex.

    Why not mix the two? WWII was a multinational effort. Put Rock in charge of a special forces unit. Add a mad Nazi scientist with some giant Ragnarok doomsday device. Add lots of explosions, have a heart-felt death scene, one big climax, and a denoument that leaves it open for sequels.

    I Am Legend? Constantine? Ut oh… if they go too far from the source material, there’s a possibility they’ll repeat Catwoman.

  4. Seems the recent G. I. Joe movie has seduced Hollywood into thinking any pro military position needs to be a modern (and future) platform. How else will they get *kids* in the theater. Sad, but the reality of business.

    However, if that’s the case why even call it Sgt. Rock? Oh, that’s right… so they can have the kids AND the adults who might have a tiny glimmer of the original. A bit like making Speed Racer, Astro Boy, et. — use the name, but reimagine the story and characters. The only saving grace would be to give Sgt. Rock the Capt. America treatment. Put him on ice and thaw him out for the future. Old sensibilities in a new world video game style military of fighter drones and IEDs.

    But whatever, I’m sure Hollywood isn’t stupid, they’ve got consultants on every level to evaluate and manipulate this and other films. That’s just the nature of the beast nowadays. I don’t like it… but they aren’t making this film for me, either. Hah!

  5. Umm….. So let me get this straight.
    They’re taking a character that was created as a fighting hero of World War II, who’s stories and adventures took place during World War II and who’s very character is that of a man of his time, a man who fought in World War II and they’re TAKING HIM OUT of the World War II setting? Placing him in a “modern” era?

    Well, then why the hell waste our time, wast potential viewers time and wast the money you’d pay for the rights of the character if you’re not going to, you know, BE TRUE TO THE CHARACTER?

    Seriously, what’s the point?

    Why not just CREATE an all NEW character that you could…..

    Oh…. I see.

    I said the bad word. I used the word “create” in context with a production from Hollywood.

    My bad.

  6. Creation implies risk, Richard. Everyone’s very risk-averse these days.

    But really, why not keep it in the past when it was “cool” to be an American Jingoist. They could even title it SGT. ROCK: OJ. Or just shorten it to SROJ, make it a single syllable. I mean, they’re kinda missing the point, so just take it all the way, man. Own it.

  7. Matt is on a roll here. They could go the extreme route… like say, Inglorious Bastards. That was WWII and since it was a Tarentino film it brought a *hip/teen/slant* *Kill Bill, Planet Terror). Do something like that and put the Howling Commandos on the screen.

  8. Why is anyone making a Sgt. Rock movie in the first place? There’s no real high concept to the series. There’s no name recognition of the character beyond comics fandom. There’s no vague sense of nostalgia associated with the character beyond comics fans of a certain age. There’s no dedicated Sgt Rock fanbase (well, there probably is, but not in any numbers that would support a motion picture). It’s not like the title “Sgt Rock” is going to drive audiences to a WWII flick they wouldn’t otherwise see. So now it’s going to be set in the future, completely divorced from the original series. Why call it ‘Sgt Rock’ at all?

  9. I think this idea that american jingoism wouldn’t fly in a movie is dopey. Like there is this fine line between jingoism and corporate hand wringing/overthinking.
    Is it really that offensive to the senses to call a captain America movie Captain America and not with some silly prefix? Or to refer to superman as standing for truth justice and the American way and not ‘all that stuff”?
    You don’t have to make a propanganda film but geez you don’t have be ashamed either.

  10. “Sure, and then they can also blow away soulless robots and clones, and no one will have to feel bad about actual people getting killed, too!”

    Ha! But does anyone feel bad about Nazis getting killed? I didn’t think so. And that “American jingoism” comment is just stupid. Many people see WWII as the last “good” war (if there can be such a thing) or at least the last justifiable war.

    Sigh…I miss John Wayne.

  11. “But whatever, I’m sure Hollywood isn’t stupid.”

    A true statement of faith, in that it disregards all evidence to the contrary.

  12. I see in the picture of Sgt. Rock, that he’s got a new set of dentures. Maybe that’s to prepare him for his trip to Hollywood. It’s always good to flash the pearly whites when making your theatrical debut.

  13. This is bullshit, if it’s true.
    Even as a raving, bleeding-heart liberal (mostly), I’m offended by Hollywood’s overt, fake desire to not offend foreign “markets” in this sad, fucked-up post-Sept. 11 world.
    Full disclosure: I’m not really a Sgt.Rock fan, and I’m not too fond of the war genre in general. And I still think this is bullshit.

  14. Did Hollywood learn nothing from Catwoman, Batman and Robin, every comic book movie failure ever? This is what happens when we stray from the source material: NO ONE GOES TO SEE THE MOVIE! I’d rather see a movie not be made than a horrible one about Rock in the future. There is NO REASON to call this a Sgt. Rock movie if this is going to be the premise.

  15. An overtly patriotic movie, whether it stars Sgt. Rock or someone else, might do okay in the U.S. — it’s not as if Joe Average American thinks that the U.S. is the world’s biggest threat to peace — but the international revenues would probably be lousy. Financiers who want to be sure a movie makes a profit wouldn’t want to write off the international market, regardless of their patriotism.

    Selecting an appropriate enemy is a separate problem. Nazis are obviously dated; selecting Asian foes would offend Asians; Arab enemies would come across as a useless fantasy — who else is there? Grenada’s already been done.


  16. The producers can’t say this publicly, but they’re going to be borrowing heavily from the XTC song, making Sgt. Rock a relationship consultant. He is, after all, the expert at kissing and stuff.

  17. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere! Sgt Rock, in the future, where he meets dinosaurs and Tor!
    Shades of deja vu, this one will be boffo for the boomers. And get this: Tor has a teenage son who is a vampire, but cute as all get out. And he has a pet dinosaur.

  18. And just to add to the dog-pile, SGT Rock was always characterized as a normal soldier thrown into the extra-normal conflicts of World War 2. Not unlike the soldiers from Saving Private Ryan (where it was clear Tom Hanks et al were citizen soldiers).
    Why oh why oh why do I think losing the WW2 setting means he’ll be part of some ‘special forces unit” entrusted ‘with the missions no one else can do’?

  19. Cary Coatney: The idea would make perfect sense if Arnold Schwarzenegger was still attached

    That always was the most brilliantly absurd casting idea for the WWII version. “Easy Coompany…forvahd mahch!”

    I’d love to see a screenwriter manage to untwist that pretzel.