Three bruising stars will share the silver screen for the first time, as Vin Diesel joins a cast that already includes [checks notes] Red Rocker and Blue Bomber. As Deadline reports, Diesel will be co-producing a live-action Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie based on the once-popular tabletop boxing game.
Launched in 1966, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots had a simple premise which could be summed up as ‘robot smash.’ Players helmed either Red Rocker or Blue Rocker and mashed buttons until either one robot’s head popped off or an angry sibling hurled the board across the room. The controls were wonky, the end of matches unsatisfying, and no amount of misleadingly-cool commercials could save the franchise once young people acquired their own phones. But as a source of untapped nostalgia, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots is perfectly primed for a cinematic revival.
Alongside Diesel, Mattel and Universal will co-produce. Ryan Engel (Rampage, The Commuter) has written the script, which follows a dad and his son as they “form an unlikely bond with an advanced war machine.”
No director is attached, but Diesel is already imagining a blockbuster franchise, perhaps along the lines of his long-running Fast & Furious series which was also produced by Universal. Diesel said, “To take the classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em game, with Mattel as my partner, and align it with the kind of world building, franchise making success we have had with Universal, is truly exciting.”
This news comes as the Fast & Furious joyride nears its end. In October, Universal announced that the franchise would finish after two more movies. Before that, FF9 will finally skid into theaters in June. Diesel is handling the end of an era the way that generations of buff bald guys have handled their midlife crises: by becoming a DJ. He recently released the EDM tracks “Feel Like I Do” and “Days Are Gone”.