Oh, video game movies from the 90’s. How awful you were. If it wasn’t Super Mario Bros. that was making us scratch our heads, it was the terrible adaptation of Double Dragon that featured...Alyssa Milano, George Hamilton and Vanna White? Yeah, we can’t figure that one out.
But then there’s Street Fighter, Steven e de Souza’s treatment of the Capcom license of the same name, where Jean Claude Van Damme’s Guile battled it out with the late Raul Julia’s mighty M. Bison for control of the world. Oh, and other characters came along, too.
We all know how weirdly bad the movie is. But did you know that Van Damme wasn’t exactly in a right frame of mind when he filmed it? Nope, he was high as a kite.
The Guardian recently had a chance to speak with de Souza about the film and he didn’t hold back when it came to his battles on set with Van Damme. He noted that the actor would miss days of filming, mainly due to the cocaine habit that he had at the time. He actually did about 10 grams a day, around the equivalent of $10,000 a week.
In fact, it got so bad that a handler had to be hired to help out Van Damme, and even he didn’t prove to be much help when it came to his erratic behavior. “I couldn't talk about it at the time, but I can now: Jean-Claude was coked out of his mind. The studio had hired a wrangler to take care of him, but unfortunately the wrangler himself was a bad influence. Jean-Claude was calling in sick so much I had to keep looking through the script to find something else to film; I couldn't just sit around for hours waiting for him. On two occasions, the producers allowed him to go to Hong Kong, and both occasions he came back late - on Mondays he just wasn't there at all,” de Souza explained.
He said, “I have to pump up my muscles!” when it came to filming scenes for the film in Thailand at the time, and even had a gym installed at the hotel where he and the cast were staying during filming. But, in fact, he was doing cocaine instead.
But his contributions also tied in with budgeting problems for the film, resulting in some actors not even being trained for stunt sequences until the day that they were supposed to film -- which is as haphazard as practices get when it comes to filming.
That was just the beginning of the turmoil surrounding the film, including actors having trouble recognizing their characters and other issues. You can read all about it here and prepare to be amazed.3comments
Regardless, it somehow made a profit, grossing $105 million off of a $33 million budget.
So yeah, the Street Fighter movie is bad. But it’s bad in a cornball sort of way, especially compared to the much more serious (and even more dreadful) Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li that came out years later. Plus, who can dare deny Raul Julia the greatness of Bison?!