Speed Kills
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Speed Kills

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 Gringo 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,Uncle Drew 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.

Street Fighter: The Movie was not a critical success. On its release in December 1994 – a year after the calamitous Super Mario Bros film – it was derided as another The Cloverfield Paradox ludicrous cash-in tossed at impressionable kids by cynical Hollywood execs. Reviewers railed against the cardboard characters and fans of the game derided the lacklustre, frenziedly edited fight scenes. However, unlike Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter: The Movie made money (lots of it), and the story of its troubled development is not one of incompetence but of tragic circumstances and drug-fuelled narcissism. And it began, as these things often do, with a frantic meeting.

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