Street Fighter: The Movie: The 20-year Postmortem

Rob Beschizza at 1:17 am Wed, Mar 12, 2014

It's so easy to find things wrong with 1994's Street Fighter movie, I thought that Chris Plante's epic feature about the flick wouldn't have any surprises. But it's wonderfully well-written, and packed with all sorts of morbid detail. Moroever, I feel like I understand something important about the mad thinking behind that whole early wave of Hollywood game-films, right down to the overpolished "blue steel" aesthetic they had.

Van Damme is shooting guns, causing all sorts of mayhem, and he shouts to Chun-Li and Balrog: "Go, go, I'll catch you later." Here's what Van Damme said the first time: "Go, go, I'll catch you later — cut, cut, cut!"

It's unusual for an actor to call cut; that's the director's role, but Van Damme was sure he'd said "ladder" instead of "later" and he demanded they do it over. [Director Steven E.] De Souza, stunned, noted the crew would need to rematch the bullet holes, rerig the actors who fell from catwalks back on their wires, clean off the costume and replace the blood packs. But Van Damme ordered another take. While the crew reset everything, Van Damme listened to the audio and realized he'd had it right. De Souza — vindicated, albeit after losing time and resources — decided to shoot the scene again for backup. Van Damme got in position. De Souza called action.

"Go, go," shouted Van Damme, "I'll catch you ladder!"

So much went wrong that it's a credit to De Souza that he managed to make it to the end. Even so, the palpable disinterest in the source material starts at the very beginning. Days into filming, the director and his stars stand around and realize that no-one on set, least of all themselves, know how to pronounce the name "Ryu."