Movie Reviews

The Rock's Career Would've Been Very Different With 1 Canceled Remake

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson once circled a remake of a ’70s classic that could have transformed his career in a big way. The history of wrestlers trying to leap to the big screen is spotty at best, and it once looked like The Rock was destined not to make the transition. He started strong with the success of The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King, but while he was hyped as the natural successor to Arnie or Stallone, this didn’t materialize. He instead made a run of action films that underperformed, and within a few years, he was making family comedies.

His movie career got a shot in the arm thanks to Hobbs in Fast Five, which propelled him to movie stardom. He’s very much a one-man brand and has several franchises to his name like Jumanji. His attempt to make superhero Black Adam a major DCU figure came undone in 2022, due to the film’s underperformance and a planned rebooting of the cinematic universe. Johnson is a Clint Eastwood fan and during Black Adam promotional duties, referred to the anti-hero as the “Dirty Harry” of the DCU – which is interesting, given a sliding door moment in Johnson’s career.

Related: There’s Still A Way For The Rock vs. Cavill To Happen (Without The DCU)

In 2004, Dark Horizons reported (via Filmz) that Warner Bros was looking to reboot the Dirty Harry franchise, as Eastwood was definitively done with the character. The plan was to relaunch the series with Detective Callahan in his thirties, with The Rock being pursued for the role. During this period, Johnson was coming off of Walking Tall, itself a remake of a gritty 1970s thriller. Remaking Dirty Harry – who wields a .44 Magnum – was a tricky proposition, as only Eastwood had played the character, with the role being one of his most popular. However, by 2004, it had already been 15 years since the fifth entry The Dead Pool.

Instead of trying to ape Eastwood’s performance, giving Dirty Harry to Johnson could have helped reinvent the role for a new generation. However, both Walking Tall and Johnson’s previous action movie The Rundown were box-office disappointments, and little was heard about the Dirty Harry remake following this initial report. By May 2005, Eastwood was set to return to the role for a Dirty Harry video game, which would have been set between the original and 1973’s Magnum Force. This appears to have killed the remake plan, though the game itself was later scrapped in 2007.

The Rock’s movie career wasn’t in a great place in the late 2000s, but a Dirty Harry movie remake could have changed that. It would have given him a major franchise, and likely an R-rated one. Movies like Walking Tall or 2010’s Faster give a glimpse at what a Dwayne Johnson Dirty Harry could have looked like. Faster in particular saw him play a vengeance-seeking man of few words who also carried a large revolver, and is arguably the actor’s darkest character. Had Johnson’s Dirty Harry been a success, he would have followed up with more action films of a similar tone.

Instead, Johnson’s success with The Fast Saga saw him pivot to audience-friendly blockbusters. He now has a rigid formula in place for his projects, including always aiming for a PG-13 and making sure they’re never too bleak or upsetting; he can also never lose a fight. With his Black Adam – whose post-credits scene is now awkward – comments, Johnson confirmed he’s still a Dirty Harry fanboy at heart. The disappointment of the comic blockbuster could see Johnson reassess his formula, and if he does, maybe attempting a Dirty Harry reboot at his current age could reinvent his image once more.

Next: Every Clint Eastwood Franchise, Ranked

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button