Video game live-action adaptations have never been seen as shining examples of quality cinema. Far from it. However, when it comes to misguided attempts to represent a popular gaming franchise, no production even comes close to the levels of cheesiness on display in Street Fighter, starring none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme.
This unapologetically 90s adaptation of the arcade phenomenon has become synonymous with subpar video game adaptations, and it’s easy to see why. From its basic understanding of the Street Fighter lore to its focus on secondary characters over the more iconic ones, everything about this movie screams “misdirection.”
However, as more info about the shooting torturous shooting process in Thailand emerges, one can’t help but marvel at the fact that the movie even made it to theatres. From heat exhaustion to freak accidents, Street Fighter‘s production was anything but easy.
At the center of the story was action megastar Jean-Claude Van Damme. Seeing as how the Belgian martial artist was experiencing a slight decay in popularity after successes like Bloodsport and Kickboxer, we can see why he’d agree to appear in a movie like Street Fighter.
Van Damme played the role of Guile, a special forces operative sent to destroy M. Bison and the forces of Shadaloo. However, he was not alone, as he was joined by the gorgeous but deadly Cammy, played by Kylie Minogue. Van Damme was immediately astonished by Minogue’s looks, as he admitted in an interview with The Guardian in 2012. And that’s not the only thing that happened between the two.
As it turns out, Van Damme was dealing with serious substance abuse at the time. Director Steven E. de Souza had to come up with excuses and new scenes each time the actor couldn’t show up on the set, leading to the studio hiring a private “bouncer” to keep an eye on Van Damme’s escapades.
That wasn’t enough, however, as the budding romance between the recently re-married Van Damme and Minogue began to show. Van Damme confesses that the affair progressed naturally, as he showed his co-star the country they were in. “I knew Thailand very well, so I showed her my Thailand,” is how he says the whole affair began.
Van Damme had just married actress Darcy LaPier that same year – a relationship that also began with an affair. The most shocking part of the whole ordeal is that LaPier was unaware of Van Damme’s infidelity until 2012 when the actor publicly admitted the affair in his interview with The Guardian.
It would be unfair to just blame De Souza for the general unruliness of the Street Fighter set – if anything, the filmmaker went above and beyond to come up with content to fill in the gaps during Van Damme’s indisposition. Still, it’s a marvel to see just how cursed the production of Street Fighter could be.
A few years later, in 1997, Van Dame divorced LaPier, and he has remained single ever since. It seems as if, for the kickboxer, the bachelor life is more convenient. Still, the affair between Van Damme and Minogue is just one of the behind-the-scenes stories that make Street Fighter such a fascinating cinematic oddity.