Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)
written and directed by Mark Hartley
When I was around 16, I went to my neighborhood video store in Puerto Rico, “Video Mundo y Mundo Color” (I guess the best translation is “Video and Color World”), and asked the owner for a job as a clerk. Amazingly, I got it, and an already nerdy teenager obsessed with movies became even nerdier. I would watch VHS’s all day, recommend stuff to customers, and place orders on action films like Blind Fury (1989), with Rutger Hauer and Sho Kosugi, just because it looked cool (it was).
In any case, soon after I became a manager at another club, Family Video, and continued my Tarantino-esque downward spiral into watching anything on the shelves, including all sorts of low-budget flicks. Among them were titles like Ninja III: The Domination (1984), Breakin’ (1984), Missing in Action (1984), King Solomon’s Mines (1985), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), and one of my favorites, Invasion U.S.A. (1986), in which Chuck Norris famously says “If you come back in here, I’m gonna hit you with so many rights you’re gonna beg for a left.” Classy!
All of those and many more were produced by Cannon Films Inc., a company ran by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus based on the Roger Corman model: Cheap fare that could turn in a profit through smart distribution. They were massively successful, and in the documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, writer/director Mark Hartley delves deep into their lunatic passion for movie making, business savvy and artistic incompetence. Because these movies are far from good – in fact, they are, for the most part, pretty awful. But they still struck a chord in the 80’s and early 90’s with their terrible special effects and ridiculous one-liners (“You’re the disease, and I’m the cure!).
Where Electric Boogaloo actually surprises you is in its genuine affection for Golan and Globus, two foreign mavericks with little talent who somehow took Hollywood by storm. Maybe they didn’t have solid skills or good taste, perhaps they were shady entrepreneurs, but they never thought they were making bad films. And in that ingenuity lies a true reflection of the American Dream, where anyone can get to the top… with a little help from Chuck Norris.
Carlos I. Cuevas
P.S. Watch Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983) right now!