This week it was announced that Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock, is going to star in Shane Black's Doc Savage movie.
Most of the reactions I saw to this announcement were positive, like my own. However, as I started thinking about it, a couple of things occurred to me.
1) Johnson's track record is sort of hit and miss isn't it? I mean for every San Andreas, there's a Hercules.
2) Director Shane Black is the guy responsible for Iron Man 3, which I sort of thought was a complete mess. I liked the stuff between Tony Stark and the kid who helped him rebuild his Iron Man suit, but that was really about it.
3) Was the old 1970's Doc Savage movie really that bad?
4) The script of this movie is going to have to do a LOT of heavy lifting. I think that Doc Savage's name recognition is NOT very high among Mom and Pop America. I would place it somewhere between Solomon Kane and Fu Manchu.
So since a lot of people (especially the youngsters who are the primary movie audience) aren't going to know who Doc Savage is, that's gonna mean the trailers will be about 90% responsible for getting people excited about the move. Look for a very Guardians of the Galaxy feeling trailer on this one.
5) Will it be a period piece? I don't think so. I think it will be set in the present day. There *might* be some flashbacks to the 1930's, but that will probably be all we get.
Nor do I think we will see the original Fabulous Five in this movie. For one thing, they were all a bunch of white guys, which was fine in the 1930's, but that country club roster won't fly in the 21st century. Look for this version's Fabulous Five to be less WW II and more CW crew.
With that said, I think you could actually just dump a lot of the original Doc Savage stuff and still have a successful movie. I know. Heresy. But hear me out. In a world where Dwayne Johnson is also set to star in The Janson Directive because the success of the Jason Bourne series has prompted Universal to decide to create a Ludlum Cinematic Universe, I don't think adherence to source material is that necessary. People more or less just want to see a big action movie. And let's be honest, before those Bourne movies, how many people really knew who Jason Bourne was?
Also, you look at the BBC's Sherlock series as a good example of a character who was moved successfully into the modern era.
So, on paper it sounds like a workable proposition which could turn into a successful movie franchise.
Or, it could be a complete disaster.
I guess we'll have to wait and see.