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Electric Boogaloo ‘The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films’ Review

Electric-Boogaloo-GGsDirector: Mark Hartley

Featuring: Molly Ringwald, Dolph Lundgren, Marina Sirtis, Elliott Gould, Mimi Rogers, Alex Winter, Bo Derek.

Running Time: 107 minutes

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

If you like your films brilliantly awful, then you would have seen some of Cannon’s work. They did the Death Wish sequels, the legendary He-Man movie Masters of the Universe and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, a film so cheap that they used an office block next to Milton Keynes train station as the UN headquarters. That’s absolutely true and anyone from Milton Keynes will tell you so. When they’re not too busy crying. They also made America 3000, for which the trailer includes the line, ‘It is nine hundred years after the great nuke, and the role of women in society has changed, much to the displeasure of men. And mutants.’ It is this the kind of glorious trash that Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films revels in.

This is a comprehensive history of a naff film studio, focusing particularly on the two would-be moguls behind it all, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. These two men chased the American dream all the way from Israel and ended up being as successful as two purveyors of shlocky rubbish could be. They were the Del Boys of Hollywood, selling the cinematic equivalent of Trevor Francis tracksuit a from a mush in Shepherds Bush (bush bush bush bush…) and their staff loved them. They may not have liked them, but they loved them. We are treated to talking heads from Dolph Lundgren, Elliott Gould and Bo Derek, all of whom seem immensely embarrassed about the work they did for this daft company, while the more insightful contributions come from the directors, screen writers, producers and cult actors who made their names working for Golan and Globus. Again, there is hardly a good word said about the countless films that were made by the bucket load, watched by few and liked by even less. Have you ever seen Over The Edge? And film about truck driving and arm wrestling starring Sylvester Stallone? I knew of it previously only because my brother told me how he caught it at 23:55 on a Wednesday night and couldn’t stop laughing. It’s not a comedy, but this fine documentary will have you chuckling for the right reasons. The stories about miniature moguls and their gung-ho approach to pitching ideas, securing distribution and getting involved on set will make you wonder how these cheap skate opportunists would ever end up being praised by Franco flippin’ Zeffirelli as ‘the greatest producers of all time.’

There are, however, some pretty unpleasant aspects brought up, mainly to do with Michael Winner and his bullying, chauvinistic approach to ‘art’ which include a clear love of rape and excessive nudity at the expense of his lady actor’s wellbeing and safety. It’s a unique experience seeing Alex Winter, of BILL & TED fame discuss how disgusted he was by Winner, a frog-like ‘film maker’ who’s greatest achievement in the last thirty years was introducing the term ‘Calm down, dear!’ to a nation that never wanted it. Director Mark Hartley knows how horrible the content of some of these films can be and addressed it with a courtesy and lightness of touch that keep the proceedings from ever getting too heavy.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is released in UK cinemas from 5th June, 2015.

John is a gentleman, a scholar, he’s an acrobat. He is one half of the comedy duo Good Ol’ JR, and considers himself a comedy writer/performer. This view has been questioned by others. He graduated with First Class Honours in Media Arts/Film & TV, a fact he will remain smug about long after everyone has stopped caring. He enjoys movies, theatre, live comedy and writing with the JR member and hetero life partner Ryan. Some of their sketches can be seen on YouTube and YOU can take their total hits to way over 17!

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