In film history, whenever a film started with the logo The Cannon Group: A Golan and Globus Production you knew, pretty much what you were gettinG. You were getting an low budget , usually action driven film. It would have been short on story and long on action. The Chuck Norris vehicle Missing In Action films are a good example of what they made. These were popcorn pictures, usually not very good and sometimes downright awful. Israeli cousins Menaham Golan Globus and Yoram Golan Globus came to America in the 1960’s after a long career in the Israeli theater and cinema. The new documentary, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, tells the story of how two B-movie kingpins cornered the market with cheap, schlocky crowd pleasing exploitation films and changed the Hollywood forever.
I suppose it is they we should thank for such classics like Sylvester Stallone in Over The Top. the Missing In Action franchise, The Happy Hooker, Northville Cemetary Massacre and who could forget the classic Gas Pump Girls. The Golan and Globus names became synonymous with trash cinema but in later years they did come up with some good films like the first Delta Force with Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris and even a halfway decent remake Invaders From Mars. In 1986 they released Franco Zeffirelli’s classic, Otello which recieved critical acclaim and garnered six Academy Awards of which it won two.
Electric Boogaloo is a fascinating look into the world of film as seen by two guys who lived and breathed film sometimes not always for the better. They had energy and vitality and always seemed to be looking at the bright side of the industry. Writer and director, Mark Hartley shoots this film from out of a canon himself, for it is lightening paced as it captures sometimes, brutally honest inteviews from Sybil Danning and Dolph Lundgren to Olivia d’Abo and Lucinda Dickey, whom I have always had a crush on since Ninja III: The Domination (also a Cannon Group film). Menaham and Yoram did not sell films, as this documentary points out. They usually sold IDEAS for films. Most of the time they had no script, stars or directors lined up. They pitched the idea and when it sold, THEN they put the film together. If you pitched them an idea about shooting a film about a person tying their shoes, they would sell it. Nothing was unfilmable.
The interviews are fun and entertaining and it was great to see all of the big stars from these films talking so honestly about the history behind some of the worst films ever made. But Hartley knows that the film can’t all be about that. He even delves into the business side of the Cannon Group as it finally did start to unravel. Deeply in debt, the cousins went their separate ways and Menaham passed away in 2014 at age 85. Electric Boogaloo is able to show how a little love of film will go a long way in Hollywood, but after a while the quality is as important as quantity. It also reflects rather poignantly on the career of Charles Bronson who made a series of really bad films for the Cannon Group. It talks about how Bronson did not really like or want to keep making the garbage he was starring in and it weighed upon Bronson until one of his last films (NOT a Cannon Group film) was actually The Indian Runner , written and directed by Sean Penn. Bronson was proud of his work in that film in which he played Sean Penn’s father. It was a good film and Bronson showed depth as an actor. It was something that eluded Bronson for most of his career.
This film was released in June of this 2015 and flew underneath the radar. It was lost in the sea of big blockbusters and animated films, but Electric Boogaloo is a terrifically informative film, loaded with energy and joy of storytelling of a time that has been all but forgotten. The Globus cousins were wild, flamboyantly abrasive at times and smiled every step of the way and to the bank. They simply don’t make’em like this anymore. That could be good or bad depending on what you look for, but for me Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is always interesting and a lot of fun. Just the way the Globus boys would have liked it.
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films-****1/2 out of 5
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films- Rated R for nudity, foul language and violence
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films- Run Time is 106 minutes.
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is available on Netflix and DVD.