REVIEW: Electric Boogaloo – The Wild and Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)

electricboogaloo

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2014, Ratpac Documentary Films/Fury Productions/XYZ Films

Director:
Mark Hartley
Producers:
Brett Ratner
James Packer
Veronica Fury
Writer:
Mark Hartley
Cinematography:
Garry Richards
Editing:
Jamie Blanks
Sara Edwards
Mark Hartley

Cast:
Sam Firstenberg (Himself)
David Paulsen (Himself)
Luigi Cozzi (Himself)
Alain Jackubowicz (Himself)
Boaz Davidson (Himself)
David Womark (Himself)
Bo Derek (Herself)
Lucinda Dickey (Herself)
Laurene Landon (Herself)
Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones (Himself)
Martine Beswick (Herself)
Mark Helfrich (Himself)
Yftach Katzur (Himself)

The wild and wacky story of Israeli cousins and filmmakers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus during their heyday as the driving force behind Cannon Films is revealed in this fun and crazy documentary.

During the 1980’s, Cannon Films was one of the top film companies that while it focused mainly on action and horror, have had its shares of other genres of films. Founded in 1967 by Dennis Freidland and Christopher Dewey, the company would be sold in 1979 to Israeli filmmakers and cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. With Golan and Globus in charge, Cannon Films quickly became one of the top film companies of the 1980’s with their launch of Ninja films, breakdance films, solidifying the career of Chuck Norris, resurrecting the career of Charles Bronson, and launching the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme.

However, while Cannon was on top on the outside, behind the scenes told a whole different story. Menahem Golan, the brains behind the company, would go quite overboard with his ideas for films. A failed partnership with MGM alongside announcing titles at the Cannes Film Festival that never materialized as well as other unorthodox methods would ultimately lead to the fall of the company. However, Cannon Films still holds a reputation as it holds a following with film fans of all sorts to this day.

Interviews with many of the actors and filmmakers who have worked with Cannon Films are interviewed here and tell some pretty interesting stories about their work with the team of Golan and Globus. Globus, while being a producer, was a more behind the scenes type a la Troma’s Michael Herz while Golan was the mastermind who came up with good and crazy ideas a la Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman. While Troma is a truly independent company, Cannon Films was a B/nearly A-list company who helped dominate the cinema of the 1980s. It may seem like an unfair comparison, but if one thinks about it, they both had relied on some similar methods to their madness.

Some of the people who have worked with Golan and Globus have praised the duo for helping boost their careers while others were quite vocal in their disdain for the duo. The latter includes Martine Beswick, who was visibly upset with her lead role in one of their films while Bo Derek, who worked on the film Bolero with the duo, was shocked when she had learned they stole publicity photos from her briefcase to use as PR for the film, which bombed. Cannon Films was truly a hit and miss film company. While they hit it big with their ninja films and Breakin’ films (which star Shabba Doo was a fan of the original but not too thrilled about the sequel), they have had their share of box office failures.

In a way, Cannon Films’ style of action cinema are still alive today as some of the team who worked with Golan and Globus had formed a new company, Nu Image, best known today for their Undisputed films, notably the sequels and The Expendables series, which falls under their subsidiary, Millennium Films.

Prior to the passing of Menahem Golan, the former Cannon boys unleashed their own documentary, The Go-Go Boys, which was released just prior to this film.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild and Untold Story of Cannon Films is a fun, wild, and wacky look at Cannon Films during their heyday as one of the 80’s top film companies. Here’s hoping we see Golan and Globus’s side of the story very soon.

WFG RATING: A-

DVD

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