The 90’s begin. Action cinema is at the height of popularity, headed up by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, with Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson also throwing their hats into the mix. The video boom would contribute to a huge surge in new action heroes being launched through that decade, and a few of the cinematic also-rans of the 80’s would quickly become VHS stalwarts (Chuck Norris, Michael Dudikoff, and Dolph Lundgren).
Two men chased and nipped at the heels of Stallone and Schwarzenegger. As Arnold and Sly began misfiring with ill-conceived comedies, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal were threatening to elbow a placing at the Planet Hollywood table. By the time Van Damme was knocking out heavy hitters like Universal Soldier and Timecop, and Seagal was moving from his mega hit Under Siege (notable as much for its excellent duo of villains in Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones as it was for Seagal himself) to his big budget directorial debut On Deadly Ground, the pair were a solid choice or two away from usurping Arnold and Sly.