Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
Genre buffs need no explanation as to what Cannon Films is. The biggest action, horror, skin, and exploitation outlet from the 70s through the early 90s has become synonymous with some of the strangest, goofiest, most exciting, action packed, and sometimes strangely artful films produced during the era. Director Mark Hartley (who previously dabbled in genre documentaries with Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens Unleashed) looks back on the studio that burned brightly with cheap productions and fizzled out quickly due to those same films.
Bouncing around between occasional archival clips, animations, and predominantly from talking head interviews of those who were around at the time, Hartley paints an unsurprisingly critical portrait of the empire that was built on the backs of Israeli producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and rested on the shoulders of “ninja epics,” breakdance flicks, and action superstars like Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone, and especially Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson. By most accounts, Cannon was a difficult place to work within, and the film seems to reflect that sentiment most of all.
Adopting a kind of freewheeling tone that doesn’t really follow a set chronology the whole time, Electric Boogaloo often comes across as a bullet-point presentation that hits everything that most fans of the indie studio already know, but giving them a few anecdotes along the way. It seems like this one could benefit from a longer cut or a Blu-Ray where one could just skip to a scene where someone can talk more specifically about each production without being interrupted to get back to the story. There’s a ton to pack in here, and Hartley does a mostly decent job. He definitely gets the most out of his interview subjects. Still, it feels like there should be more here. (Andrew Parker)
Wednesday, September 10th, 9:00am, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Sunday, September 14th, 12:45pm, Scotiabank 11