Why A Duke Nukem Film Won’t Work

It has recently been announced that wrestler turned actor (aren’t all wrestlers actors?), John Cena is in talks to play video game superstar Duke Nukem in an upcoming flick. Now I love me some Mr Nukem, he’s one of my all time favourite game characters and I’d love to see a big screen film made. I salivate at the thought of the larger then life Duke Nukem being brought into the world of cinema. While I personally think John Cena is not a great actor – I really can imagine him as Duke. He has the look and build down to a T.

Cena Nukem.jpg

Give that guy a bleach-blonde flat-top. a pair or Ray-Bans and stick a stogie in his mouth…and voilà! But can he do the voice? Yeah, Cena seems the perfect choice for the role (either him or Dolph Lundgren from Rocky IV) and even though I want to see a Duke Nukem flick, even though I think they have the right man – I don’t think they should even attempt making it.

Why It Shouldn’t Happen

There is a major problem with this idea and that problem is the character of Duke himself. You see, when the abysmal Duke Nukem Forever was finally released it was slammed by critics. Not only because the game was a complete dog to play with vastly outdated game mechanics and terrible level design but also due to Duke’s trademark style of humour. Many reviewers felt that Duke Nukem was just not ‘right’ in this now PC world we live in. See, Duke is a very obnoxious, overtly sexist and just downright rude to boot. He was playing with alien boobies long before Luke Skywalker did so in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Duke Nukem Alien Boobs

Yeah he loves ‘the babes’ but he treats them with little regard, objectifying them, looking at them as sex objects and so on. Duke is a pastiche of 70s and 80s action heroes, he’s an overblown stereotype expanded to the level of absurdity and I love him for it too. But that is because I get the joke, I know he’s supposed to be a parody. Yes he is outdated but that is part of the amusement that many, many people do not get.

Given the fact that right now, Hollywood is in the midst of a ‘feminist uprising’ and there are a string of films (remakes/reboots) coming soon where the male parts are being swapped for female ones. The fact that every time you turn on the TV or check out the news, there is yet another big name producer/director/actor being accused of some kind of sexual misconduct. All of this shit going on right now and they think its the right time to make a Duke Nukem movie? It may have flown fifteen years ago, maybe ten…possibly even just squeezed in five years ago – but now? Not a chance.

Hollywood and film-making in general is changing (for better or worse) and you just can not have a character like Duke Nukem in a film doing what he does. The backlash over Duke’s style of humour was immense when Duke Nukem Forever was released in 2011. Six years later and not much has changed I can only imagine what the furore would be like if the game was released now. Do you really think a film where the hero gets a double blow-job from two fan-girl twin sisters dressed in school-like uniforms while he sits there playing a video game will fly in today’s movie climate?

Duke Nukem Twins.jpg

This is not like the fan outcry for an R-rated Deadpool movie a few years back (but we got it eh?). Deadpool is just a very violent fellow and for some reason, violence is frowned upon sure – but its not considered as bad as sexual images or more specifically a male being overtly sexual towards women. The only way they can do a Duke Nukem flick is to dilute the character, strip him away of what makes Duke Nukem who he is – and there is no self-respecting Duke fan on the planet that wants to see that happen. We want our Duke to treat women like pieces of meat, slap some titties around (alien or otherwise) we want him to hand strippers cash and tell them to “Shake it baby!”.

Duke Nukem Shake It baby.jpg

We want to see all of this not because we are sad, basement dwelling sexists but because that is who Duke Nukem is and much like Deadpool with his violence – if they are going to bring Duke to the big screen, then they need to do it properly, go in balls deep – sexism and everything else.

I just do not see a big Hollywood studio willing to take on the character warts and all. The film-making climate has changed so dramatically over the last few months and how women are perceived and treated in film is shifting as we speak. I’d rather not see a big screen version of Duke Nukem at all than have him be watered down to appease the ‘PC brigade’.

In short, Duke is too great of a character for him to be castrated by the ‘feminazis’, so just leave him be.

Duke Nukem babes

Duke Nukem: “I like a good cigar…and a bad woman.”

Duke Nukem used to be awesome.


Duke Nukem Forever took…well forever to be released. It was to be called “Forever” as it was (at the time) the 4th game in the series (get it, FOURever?) to be made after Duke Nukem 3D (get it THREE-D? Sorry I’ll stop now) from 1996. But delays meant Duke Nukem Forever would not see the light of day until over 15 years after it was first announced as the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D.
Due to the delays there were other games released in the series in between the 15 year gap.

Duke Nukem Forever when finally released in 2011 was one of the biggest disappointments in gaming history and seemingly buried the Duke Nukem character. But I’m not here to talk about the Duke Nukem series of games and the bitter disappointment that was Duke Nukem Forever…yet (it’s coming though).

I wanted to cover one of my all time favorite game characters from his early low budget start to his meteoric rise in the mid 90’s and his fall from grace in 2011.

Duke Nukem was created by Todd Replogle, Jim Norwood, George Broussard, and Scott Miller of Apogee Software. Being a parody of 80’s action heroes by meddling elements of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell as well as throwing in a bit of Roddy Piper from They Live and smidge of Bruce Campbell’s Ash from Army Of Darkness.
Duke was essentially the best of the best (or worst) of action heros mixed together to make one bad-ass mofo.

Voiced by Jon St. John (from Duke Nukem 3D onwards) giving Duke a rather unique, iconic and instantly recognisable voice. Seriously try saying “What are you waiting for, Christmas?” without thinking of or hearing Duke Nukem’s voice in your head. Duke Nukem became one of gamings all time greats.
Duke was sexist, misogynistic, confident, aggressive, and beautifully politically incorrect with a soft spot for “the babes”.
His was skilled with a variety of weapons from explosives, automatic and even energy weapons…oh and his “mighty foot” for kicking alien pig-police in the face. He would also use vehicles such as his monster truck or even a jet pack. He is never seen without his trademark Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, even at night and often seen with a nice fat stogie hanging out of his mouth.
His ego was so huge he even wrote an autobiography called: “Why I’m So Great”.

Duke’s first appearance was in Duke Nukem from 1991 and has been in a total of 18 official Duke Nukem games, sequels and spin offs as well as making cameos in other games like: Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure (1992), Blood (1997) and more recently Choplifter HD (2012) along with several other games.

There was a time when the name Duke Nukem really meant something in the gaming world. From early 16-bit visuals to full on 3D and textured polygons, Duke Nukem was a hugely popular character despite really being a huge, egotistical (insert slang term for a lady’s front bits here). The humor of the character was often really childish…but still funny. Mr. Nukem was certainly controversial as a character.
Often found on top lists of all time great gaming characters along with the likes of Mario, Sonic, Lara Croft, Pac-Man and many others and he is even listed in The Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition. Duke Nukem still remains a fan favourite and a character that has earned his rightful place in gaming history.

Alas, the dismal Duke Nukem Forever may have buried the character for good. Aside from the game itself, may a reviewer just did not “get” the character. Calling him out on his sexism, mysongism, childish humor, stating he was outdated and so on…yes, that is the point of the character. He’s supposed to be a parody, a pastiche of 80’s cheesy action heros.
Yes, Duke Nukem Forever the game was bad, but Duke himself as a character was just as great as he ever was and his puerile humor was much needed in the sterile world of straightlaced characters and very “brown” personalities we have today.

Since the release of Duke Nukem Forever in 2011, Duke has been laying low and not really heard of since and it does look like Duke Nukem may finally be dead. But I really do hope not, while Duke Nukem Forever was a horrible game and definitely not worth the 15 year wait. The character is just too important and impactful to sweep under the carpet.
We need Duke Nukem back to inject his humor and style back into gaming, he just needs better games to be in.
I’d most definitely like to see Duke return, but let’s just ignore Duke Nukem Forever and pretend it never happened.

Duke 2

“Hail to the King Baby.”