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Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)

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A one-of-a-kind story about two-of-a-kind men who (for better or worse) changed film forever.



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Title: Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)

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A documentary about Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus - two movie-obsessed cousins whose passion for cinema changed the way movies were made and marketed - and the tale of how this passion ultimately led to the demise of the company they built together. Written by Anonymous

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Walk Down Memory Lane (with plenty of explosions!)
22 September 2014 | by (Oakville, Ontario) – See all my reviews

For those of us that grew up in the VHS age of the 1980's, Cannon Films was a studio that provided us with much of our movie watching excitement. New Year's Evil (1980), Enter the Ninja (1981), Invasion U.S.A. (1985) and Cobra (1986) are just a few of the titles that helped propel Cannon Films in its heyday and is the focus of the new documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.

Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus bought Cannon films for $500,000 in 1979 and created a film sausage factory where films were fast tracked to the screen based on high risk concepts or eye-catching movie posters ("At Cannon, 52 pictures a year wasn't enough").

Immediately, the two relatives saw a market for B-movie action films and started to build their empire on the backs of such franchises as Death Wish and various Chuck Norris vehicles such as Delta Force and the Missing in Action series.

Director Mark Hartley is no stranger to documenting film on film. Harley directed Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation in 2008 and Machete Maidens Unleashed! in 2010. Hartley has a formula that works when exploring niche genres in film and stays the course with Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.

Clips of films (everything from American Ninja, Texas Chainsaw Massacre II and Bloodsport are intertwined with interviews from familiar faces such as Molly Ringwald, Alex Winter, Dolph Lundgren and Richard Chamberlain. The doc takes us back to the early 80's and Hartley covers as many bases as possible when docu-reminiscing through such mindless yet wildly entertaining films that shaped many of our youths.

For a walk down memory lane, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is one hell of a fun ride. But it's a safe ride and one that doesn't give us any real deep deep deep insight into anything and just skims the surface of historical reference. When Electric Boogaloo does try and dive beyond an E: True Hollywood Story expose (such as a bit on diva Sharon Stone) it is met with a shrug of the shoulders and a 'Yea, not surprised' reaction from a target audience that was much more appreciative when the film simply highlighted films that we thought were even greater than the invention of sliced bread.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is a tad overlong at 105 minutes but breathes new life into their decaying body with every newly introduced film that sparks memories of an age long gone. We do get educated on how now more popular directors got their start (Jean-Luc Godard with King Lear, Barbet Schroder with Barfly and John Cassavetes with Love Streams) with Cannon much like Roger Corman started the careers of Ron Howard, Martin Scorcese and James Cameron. And it was interesting to see the downfall of the company with big budget backed busts such as Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Masters of the Universe.

Menahem Golan (who recently passed away in August 2014) and Yoram Globus did not participate in the documentary so any opinion of their business practices are told by the many interviewed stars and staff that were involved in their pictures including Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Bo Derek, Michael Dudikoff and Elliot Gould.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films felt formulaic. It went through the motions and tired harder to tap into our memories than it did trying to tap into the backlots and secrets surrounding the studio (after all, it is titled 'The Wild, Untold Story'). Still, for someone who has seen every one of the films that was displayed on screen – and some, multiple times - Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films was like putting on your favorite pair of shoes that have long outlived their usage date. It had me reaching into my VHS collection to re-screen films I have not paid attention to in decades. And for that, Mark Hartley deserves credit.

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