The Street Fighter movie was crazy, and not like a fox; more like "What Does the Fox Say?" kind of crazy. First of all, the movie was based on a video game, so there was a 99% chance that it would suck. To make matters worse, it was Stephen de Souza's directorial debut, so the odds were really stacked against it. While action movies and action TV shows can be high quality, this was not the case here.
In the movie, M. Bison, an East Asian warlord, kidnaps representatives of the Allied Nations (basically, the UN) and demands a Dr. Evil-style ransom of $20 billion for their return. Macho American and failed ESL student William Guile must lead a rescue mission with Kylie Minogue doing the locomotion at his side. The rest is not worth getting into.
As if the plot was bad enough - and it was, it really was - there are a ton of weird stories about the Street Fighter movie's production and development issues ranging from last minute casting, to cocaine and infidelity, to terminal cancer. Pretty much nothing went right for this movie and it showed. Here's everything wrong with Street Fighter the movie.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Was Coked Out Of His Mind
Well, coked out of his mind and having an affair with Kylie Minogue, that is. Yeah, by all accounts, he was a bit of a handful. He didn't really know his lines, and even the ones he did know, he could barely enunciate. When de Souza had written for Schwarzenegger, he ran lines with the foreign actor to make sure he could handle them, and changed the wording Arnold struggled with. Van Damme declined to do this, claiming he had already run the lines with his wife. The lines he was actually doing were not quite as productive.
When Van Damme started shooting, he was allegedly already at a 10 grams-a-day habit that cost him nearly $10,000 a week. Director Steven de Souza hired a handler for Van Damme, bit it turns out it didn't help.
"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," de Souza recalled.
Thailand's Government Suspected A Coup And Shut Down All Roads To Production
For an undisclosed reason, the Thai government suspected that the production was actually some sort of coup and shut down all roads surrounding the set. The crew was forced to travel by speed boat down the khlongs (canals) in order to keep the production somewhat on schedule.
“We had to travel by high-speed boats down the khlongs [canals] at 1 am in the morning. This went on for 10 days, and these boats kicked up a lot of water, so, by the time we got to the location, the cast and crew were all sodden. Van Damme hated that," said Keith Heygate, the First AD for the second unit.
One Actor Was Actually Dying
M. Bison was played by Raúl Juliá who, shortly before production began, underwent surgery for stomach cancer, a disease he continued to battle throughout the filming. The entire production schedule was flipped when director Steven de Souza arrived and saw what type of shape Juliá was in. Originally, they had planned on doing Juliá's action scenes first, and had coordinated those stunts. Due to his weakened condition, however, they had to flip that, shooting other action scenes that didn't include Juliá, which hadn't been choreographed or even rehearsed.
"We decided to push all of Raul’s scenes to the end of the movie, so he could gain weight and we’d move other things up front. I was putting people on the camera who’d had virtually no fight practice," de Souza said to The Guardian.
There are certain scenes in the movie in which Juliá looks quite emaciated - those are non-action scenes and were shot early, allowing Juliá time to bulk up before making him perform any stunts. Juliá died less than a year after shooting the film.
It Had An Official Rap Song
This is just the worse. The song was called "Straight To My Feet" and it was by MC Hammer and featured Deion frickin' Sanders... what?! Oh yeah, and Jean-Claude Van Damme is totally in it, and he dances and kicks. Then all of the bad guys from Street Fighter kick down the door of the club as if they're about to start something. They don't, though. They just stand there menacingly. There's a brief moment of hope when you think, "Oh wow, is it possible they'll have a dance off?! Please let it be!"
Unfortunately, it is not to be. But the video's still worth a watch. It is simultaneously the funniest and saddest thing in existence.