HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
HTS Overall Score:69
I love film. I mean, that’s the real reason I do this job. To sit down and watch FILMS and talk about them with all of you. Apparently, so did cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the creators of the infamous “Cannon Films” group. I’ve grown up watching their logo on at least a couple dozen movies in my collection, and they were literally plastered all over the weekend movies on broadcast television for the better part of my childhood. They were the sort of guilty pleasure movies that you watched late at night when you were 13, just hoping that your parents didn’t come home and catch you watching that type of stupidity/nudity/violence. I’ve always marveled at the sheer AWFULNESS and lunacy that the team brought to their movies and with Warner’s documentary on the legendary film studio, we get to see that reality was every bit as entertaining and insane as their movies were.
Yoram and Menahem were both Israeli film makers in the late 60’s, early 70s and after making the movie “Lemon popsicle”, transitioned over to the U.S., where they bought a small movie studio called “Cannon Films”. Cannon has never been known for quality films (except for the rare gem), but at their inception the two were just slapping their name on anything they could find. Sleazy Swedish skin flicks with a few reshoots here and there to appeal to modern audiences and call it a day. Soon enough they started producing their own films, expanding into fantasy, adventure and remaking of classic literature (with abysmal results). For the two foreign directors, nothing was good enough without copious amounts of nudity, which led to some of the most hysterical blunders of their careers. I was dying on the floor laughing as the documentary shows director after director, and crew member after crew member beating their head against their proverbial hands lamenting the fact that Menahem and Yoram refused to NOT have a nude/sex scene back in the olden days, even when it was OBVIOUSLY a bad idea.
Give them a little time and soon enough the duo were suddenly a success. They were making upwards of 40+ films a year, something completely unprecedented in modern cinema. No one could make heads or tails out of how they were pulling it off either. Low and behold it appears that the two Israeli heads were incredibly skillful at marketing and sales. They would take the press posters two potential investors, sell them to them on credit and then use the funds to go make their motion pictures. Basically barely funding a future movie with profits made from previous movies in a vicious circle.
As time went on and the 80’s rolled around, Cannon had become just a LITTLE more legit, and were pumping out action movies left and right. This is where we get the infamously bad “Death Wish” sequels as well as where Chuck Norris became a big star with “Missing in Action” and “Delta Force”. At this time Cannon realized that they needed bankable stars and pretty much dominated the two Chucks (Bronson and Norris) for that decade, churning out some awesomely bad action movies that pretty much defined my childhood.
The late 80’s were the demise of the studio. We all knew Cannon had to end someday, they were legendary for being cheapskates and bullies to their cast members. A well-kept secret in Hollywood. However they grew so fast and overextended their reach so much that sooner or later their debt recycling caught up to them. Desperate to make money and get another “hit” the duo started taking on bigger and bigger movies instead of their normal 1-2 million dollar schlock fests. That basically meant that we have wonderful big budget flops like “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”, “Over The Top” and even the gloriously bad “Masters of the Universe” and Van Damme’s “Cyborg” (which was literally done the same year that Cannon shut down and had to be completely recut by Van Damme himself to make it salvageable). Then, it was all over. the Studio basically shut down over night once their debt caught up with them, and what was once a thriving studio (which amazes people to this day) became a wasteland and nothing but a memory preserved on celluloid.
I was literally glued to the screen the entire run time, and have to say that this was one of the most entertaining documentaries I’d ever seen. It was like watching a crazed, drug infused ride that the cannon films were famous for. Every other minute was punctuated with me going “no way!”, or “are you kidding me?”! They say truth is stranger than fiction, and that is most certainly true with the Cannon Films history. I can never say that Cannon made truly GREAT films, but they made so many horrible, cheesy films that have stood the test of time for bad movie drinking games that you can’t help but love them. Watching the interviewees, which range from Marina Sirtis, Bo Derek, Boaz Davidson, Elliot Gould, all show an INCREDIBLY wide range of emotions. Some of them praised the driven duo, whole others rant and rave on camera about their hatred, going so far as to actually light a copy of "America 3000" on FIRE to show their loathing. Love em or hate em, Cannon Films has been embellished onto our eyes and onto film for all time, whether that be good or bad.
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, violence, language and some drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54442[/img]The documentary itself is filmed in standard 1.78:1, but a lot of the footage that is spliced in from all of their older films come in a variety of different aspect ratios. As such, we have a WIDE range of quality and visual styles. The documentary portions itself with the interviewees are usually pretty solid, set up against a dark background and pretty impressively clean and detailed. When they are splicing in reels of older 70’s and 80’s films it can range from really really good (think “Breakin” which just had an HD transfer) down to downright as bad as VHS material, such as from their 70’s exploitation films. Varying degrees of black levels and colors adorn the screen, and as such, just expect that it’s a big melting pot of different video qualities.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54450[/img]There is a single lone Dolby Digital 5.1 track on board, and it does its job with about the same varying quality that the video encode has to deal with. The modern times stuff is actually quite good, with strong vocal clarity and no audible distortions whatsoever. The track is naturally a bit front heavy, but that is really to be expected from a documentary. As with the video, once the spliced in bits of sound take over there is varying degrees of quality. Some sound really nice, clean and clear, while others are scratchy and suffer from poor fidelity due to improper storage or just plain CHEAP sources. All in all, the documentary is about as good as you’re going to get for many of these films and I can’t blame them for taking what they could to insert in.
• Cannon Trailer montage (34+ minutes)
• Deleted Scenes
“Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films” has to be one of the most entertaining documentaries I’ve seen in ages. The source material is full of wild and crazy stories that almost defy reality and coupled with them showing pieces of all of these horrible films during the interviews makes it so much funnier and entertaining. The final scrolling lines before the credits where WB states that they approached the two Israeli director’s to appear in the documentary, only for them to refuse and create their OWN documentary that beat “Electric Boogaloo” to the market by 3 month was the icing on the cake, exemplifying the two mogul’s attitudes toward film in general. Watch the rest of the documentary and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Audio and video are solid considering the source material for the pieces used and will there isn’t a WHOLE lot of extras, the montage of Cannon trailers is a complete trip down memory lane. Definitely recommended if you’re the least bit interested about the wild and wooly times of the company.
Starring: Sam Firstenberg, David Paulsen, Luigi Cozzi
Director: Mark Hartley
Written By: Mark Hartley
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 107 Minutes
DVD Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Buy Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Watch
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