How to Make a Duke Nukem Movie Work

Here’s what we know: John Cena is in negotiations to star in a movie adaptation of Duke Nukem. The project currently sits at Paramount and Platinum Dunes, a mid-size studio known for franchise horror and the most recent live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. With no director or writer attached, it’s unclear whether Duke Nukem will even go ahead. But if it does, it faces sizeable creative hurdles.

For one thing, Duke Nukem isn’t exactly current. The franchise’s tortured last outing, 2011’s Duke Nukem Forever, suffered from an overwhelming negative response. Even the series’ high point, Duke Nukem 3D, is mostly remembered for its gameplay and level design – hardly useful for cinematic adaptation. The games’ narratives center around bog-standard alien invasions, and somehow their central character is even less substantial.

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