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Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
Australia | 2014 | 106 min | DCP
documentary | section: New International Documentaries
Premiere Status: Wisconsin

directed by: Mark Hartley
cinematographer: Garry Richards
editor: Mark Hartley, Sara Edwards, Jamie Blanks
music: Jamie Blanks
producer: Veronica Fury, Brett Ratner
In the 1970s, the late Israeli director Menahem Golan, along with his cousin and producing partner Yoram Globus, experienced significant financial success with a handful of home-based productions (particularly the Lemon Popsicle series of raunchy sex comedies). The daring duo seized an opportunity to go international in the 1980s when they moved to Hollywood, founded Cannon Films and unleashed a prolific annual slate of low-budget releases, the majority of which were exercises bad taste. Mavens of mayhem and exploitation, Golan-Globus manufactured a decade’s worth of movies that generally reflected their own strange and skewed understanding of classic Hollywood entertainment. While the annual Cannon slate occasionally included a critically recognized artistic effort like Runaway Train or Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear, today Cannon is best remembered as the studio that brought us the Breakin’ and Ninja cycles, as well as countless Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson vehicles. Ultimately, Cannon was sunk by a number of lousy, underperforming pictures with inflated budgets like Sylvester Stallone’s arm-wrestling drama Over the Top and Superman IV. This fabulously entertaining documentary from filmmaker and exploitation cinema historian Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood) contains enough juicy clips to make any 80s movie fan plotz. Even more fun, Hartley has compiled dozens of interviews with Cannon veterans like American Ninja Michael Dudikoff, King Solomon’s Mines star Richard Chamberlain, and Lucinda Dickey, leading lady of both Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo and Ninja III: The Domination, to name just a few. The anecdote about Golan pitching a movie to Clyde the Orangutan is worth the price of admission. To sample one of the less refined, but still fun, Golan-Globus productions, don’t miss our 35mm screening of Cannon’s Avenging Force starring Michael Dudikoff.

- Jim Healy
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