Written by: Ben
I was certainly excited for Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (gonna just call it “Electric Boogaloo from now on to save myself time typing) when I saw it on the festival list. While I don’t know Cannon that we’ll since it’s from before my time, but I am a fan of some of their films along with my love for B-Movies. As such when the opportunity to see it came around I was glad to give it a watch can then relay that info to you here now!
Cannon Films itself is a story worthy of a movie like this as it was founded by some larger than life figures. Menahem Golan who loved cinema in all its regards and Yoram Globus, his cousin who worked with him as a skilled marketer and accountant, founded Canon Films and changed cinema forever. They had found early success in their home country of Israel and then moved to America to do the same thing but with American cinema. Despite barely, if at all, knowing what American audiences wanted they revolutionized how to get funding and make independent cinema, as well as made movies in a way the was unknown in America. While meeting relative failure in the end and separating, these two cousins really shook the pillars of cinema to its core.
Director Mark Hartley has made name for himself as a documentarian and for investigating aspects and genres of film in his movies. His most well known documentary, Not Quite Hollywood, looked at the early boom in Australian cinema with Ozploitation, and much of Cannon followed in that exploitive vein. As such it’s an understandable change over for Hartley, and he clearly comes at it with the same energy and passion for the subject. The biggest issue though is that it almost feels like there isn’t enough time for all the details an discussion about Cannon in the run time allotted. Hartley almost over extends the content and as such actually feels rushed at times.
It is almost traditional for documentaries to have a much slower than a normal film plot, so it is a mixed criticism. The pace is almost breakneck though, and while being too slow is a common issue for documentaries, this one goes almost too fast. It’s not really a big fault of the documentary or Hartley in the end as they are covering ~30 years of filmmaking from Cannon, but it does feel like they could’ve slowed down. There’s a few specific films they cover for about 10-15 minutes, when others are just named or briefly mentioned Some of these could’ve been covered in just 5-10 minutes instead and it would have had no negative effects on the flow or care given and instead would allow for more time on other aspects. It’s a minor gripe, but not one I could overlook.
A very commendable documentary about one of the more interesting companies from Hollywood history, even if many of their films were forgettable. It is both a cautionary tale and a tale of reverence for their innovation in many areas and truly a fun watch. If you have any interest in 80’s Cinema then this is a film you’ll truly want to see.