A Sifu video game movie is currently in development with John Wick creator Derek Kolstad set to write the screenplay for the feature film.
A Sifu movie is in development, with John Wick creator Derek Kolstad set to write the screenplay for the feature film adaptation of the 2022 hit beat ’em up game. Kolstad is responsible for writing the first three John Wick films, as well as the 2021 action thriller Nobody, and two episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Sifu was developed by French studio Sloclap, and explores the story of a martial arts student on a quest to avenge his father’s death across contemporary China, which became well-received for its inventive gameplay mechanics and combat, becoming a nominee for many industry awards.
As reported by Deadline, Sloclap will partner with media company Story Kitchen to produce a feature film adaptation of Sifu following the video game’s successful launch in early 2022. John Wick creator Derek Kolstad will develop the film’s screenplay, and work alongside producer Dmitri M. Johnson, who has previously served as a producer on both 2018’s Tomb Raider and the successful Sonic the Hedgehog film franchise. While both Kolstad and Johnson’s involvement has been confirmed, no director is currently attached to helm the project, and no estimated release date has been given.
With the gameplay’s heavy emphasis on hand-to-hand combat in chained, customizable maneuvers, and the use of items in the environment, Sifu quickly earned a reputation for its fast-paced action. However, the game also features a unique respawn system, where while the player’s character will become more powerful upon returning to life, they will also age and have less health, forcing players to readjust their strategies as they progress. As such, Kolstad may be a good fit to bring Sifu to the big screen, as not only has John Wick’s celebrated action scenes proved he could capture Sifu’s high-paced fights, but also communicate the gradual struggle and wear upon the main character in a way similar to the physical wear that Keanu Reeves’ reluctant assassin endures throughout the franchise, creating higher stakes for the film.
Furthermore, Kolstad is no stranger to adapting properties into new forms of media, with the screenwriter having had a hand in multiple projects that have seen him take various recognizable properties from one medium to another. As well as expanding the world of John Wick into video games and comic books, Kolstad has been attached to numerous projects that would see him bring video game properties to screen, including the in-development live-action adaptation of Just Cause, as well as Netflix’s upcoming Splinter Cell anime series. As such, Kolstad may have a good understanding of what elements of a video game are needed to create an adaptation that can satisfy both existing fanbases and new audiences.
Like John Wick, Sifu gripped players with its relentless action and no-holds-barred brutality in the player character’s quest for revenge, allowing it to stand out and contend with many of the year’s most anticipated releases. As such, many initial players were quick to make the comparison between each property’s high-paced action and revenge-based narrative, with Sifu’s fanbase going as far to bring both worlds together when the game’s modding community created a John Wick-inspired skin for the player character. And with Kolstad now attached to bring the world of Sifu to the big screen, dedicated fans may hope to see the sensational martial arts beat ’em up become the next hit Hollywood video game adaptation.