Run Time 1:46:20
Aspect Ratio 1:78 (and clips 1:33 to 2:35)
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Dual Layer Disc
Deleted Scenes 15:11
Cannon Trailers 34:31
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films! is not only the most comprehensive documentaries that I have seen but it might just be the funniest comedy of all time. Here is the trailer that is just a small taste of the strangest stories from the worst studio in Hollywood during the 1980’s.
The movie by writer and director Mark Hartley does a very remarkable thing with this film. First it’s a truthful history of Cannon Films but interviews a ton of people who worked for the company and boy do they have stories to tell. I remember the period when Cannon was making films and they were even awful back then. Known for their low budgets and questionable acting they were movies that were made for the dawn of the home video age. As with most small studios they made exploitation types of movies like horror, soft core porn, and action films that would sell well overseas. While other independent studios like New Line, New World and Orion made those types of films they at least attempted to make some quality productions.
The biggest problem with Cannon films were that they were not only made cheap but looked cheap. While they would trot out aging stars like Charles Bronson and make four Death Wish sequels that got worse each round but found new action stars like Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. While Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus loved to make movies the unfortunate problem was that they didn’t have the talent or the money behind the films to pull it off.
Hartley not only should be commended for the research of the story but getting the interviews with nearly everyone who knows about the company. This is where they film really shines with some of the most outrageous stories that are hard to believe that get crazier and crazier as the film goes along. From directors, writer, actors, studio heads, and workers at the studio reminisce surprisingly fondly on working with or at Cannon Films. No matter how insane things got there is only a few who do not speak fondly of go-go boys. What makes this film quite fascinating is that the vast amount of knowledge that the interviewees have about the history of the studio. Hartley has gathered a great cross-section of people to interview for the film. He also was very lucky that there were numerous vintage interviews and footage of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus that helped focus the point of the story even without them participating in the film. One director Michael Winner who did a number of Canon films most notably the Death Wish 2 & 3 had passed away before the film was made but luckily again there was vintage interview footage to fill the gaps.
With so much to work with Hartley keeps the 107 minute feature lean and extremely well paced. Putting the film in the chronological history of Cannon Films help the viewer see the rise and fall and the legacy both good and bad of the period. The film does a great job of taking the viewer back in time to the 1980’s and helping viewers who might not know or simply have been born to understand how wild and insane the impact that Cannon had on the film industry during the period. The one thing that I really loved about the film is its humor. Considering all of the crap and insanity of working on a Cannon Film or working at the company nearly every interviewees has a humorous story or anecdote about nearly every aspect of Cannon Film’s history. Hartley never seems to be pushing an agenda with the film beyond showing the chronological history of it. He just lets the interviews talk about what they know and he masterfully puts the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together perfectly.
If there is only one minor complaint is that in the regular feature there is no mention of the Spider-Man film that Cannon was going to make a Spider-Man film that although in heavy development in the mid 1980’s it never ended up seeing the light of day and while Captain America was eventually made by Menahem Golan’s 21st Century Film Corporation after the demise of Cannon Films. Considering the sordid history of Spider-Man and the great story of it in the deleted scenes I really think that it should have been left in the feature. The scene is not that long and wouldn’t have impacted the flow of the feature.
With that being said this is one of the best documentaries that I have every seen. Of course being a film fan and knowing some of the Cannon stories during the time when they were around this film added a lot of new information to the story. Hartley has crafted not only a wild and insane documentary but never is derogatory to the studio or Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. If anything he gives Cannon Films a new respect for the company and the films. They loved films and while they maybe didn’t have the resources or the knowledge when they made their films, but they truly loved film and while nearly 99% of their films were total train wrecks they would some times stumble onto success. Hartley wisely never takes sides on the whole circus aspect of the company and presents everything warts and all. I have to admit that after watching the film I gained a new appreciation for Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Not that there are many of their films that are worth watching but they had a passion for film and did what they did best, make them.
The overall quality of the DVD is very good. The film itself is shot very well with respects to both video and audio. The video for both the interviews and the film clips are pretty good quality. During some of the interviews there is some compression artifacting that are somewhat disappointing but nothing fatal in the overall picture. Fortunately those video issues are only on a few of the interviews. The vintage footage is pretty good considering that most of it was shot on videotape so those scenes are limited by their source material but they look pretty good all things considered. The audio is quite nice with the interviews being recorded quite well and no sound issues were found. The film clips appear to be the films regular mix so there are a few times where the surrounds kick in but overall the audio is a nice pleasant stereo mix.
This movie is a must see and must have for any serious film buff. Even if you’re not a super film buff this film is well worth watching. Everyone has seen at least one Cannon film in their life and now you can see the wild and untold stories of them. This DVD will make a fine addition to any home video collection and comes with my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Here is a rundown of the special feature on the DVD.
The deleted scenes run 15:11 that is different from the packaging that states over 25 minutes of deleted scenes. They include;
10 to Midnight (1983)
Development of Spider-Man
Captain America (1990)
Menahem Golan Impersonations
Mark’s T-Shirt Collection
Roy and John read their favorite critique
Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)
There are 19 Cannon trailers with a run time of 34:31;
The Apple, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Enter the Ninja, The Last American Virgin, Death Wish II, Hercules, Breakin’, Bolero, Missing In Action, King Solomon’s Mines, Death WIsh 3, Invasion U.S.A., Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, The Delta Force, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Cobra, Masters of the Universe, Over the Top and Cyborg.
To buy the DVD click on the title at the top and as of this current review it’s only $5.00 and that is a true steal!