In 1993, writer/director Steven de Souza battled a military coup, an ever-growing cast list and a self-destructing Jean-Claude Van Damme – and came out with a profitable picture

It was the early 1990s and every teenager in the world knew about Street Fighter II. Originally released in the arcades and then on the SNES and Mega Drive consoles, the game featured a cast of weird, semi-magical combatants with names like Ryu, Chun-Li and Guile battling it out for victory in the World Fighting Championship. It was colourful, competitive and ridiculous. It sold 15 million copies.

Realising the cinematic potential of the game’s giant brand, publisher Capcom soon dispatched a retinue of execs to Hollywood. Experienced producer Ed Pressman saw the potential immediately and he knew who to call: Steven De Souza, writer of Die Hard and Commando, and before those, TV hits such as The Hardy Boys, The Six Million Dollar Man and Knight Rider. Steven had impeccable action-entertainment experience, and was even working on an animated series, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, for which Capcom had produced a tie-in video game. There was, in Hollywood business parlance, synergy.

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