Release Date(s)2014 (September 29, 2015)
Studio(s)Warner Home Video
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: C+
Growing up in the 1980’s, you could get a guaranteed piece of schlock (if you were into that sort of thing) when the Cannon Films logo was at the head of a movie. Not that I ever went out of my way to find VHS releases specifically from them, but you kind of knew what you were in for if you happened to rent one. Cannon Films was a company that pretty much had its own brand of action schlock extravaganza, occasionally stepping outside of that box to try something different... and by occasionally, I mean not very often. They’re now defunct, but at one time, Cannon Films was a big company that got a lot of wild films made and distributed, and Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is a reminder of that.
Directed by Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed), Electric Boogaloo is a very informative and fast-moving documentary, some might say too fast. I found it to be so engrossing and filled with so much information that it forgot to slow down long enough to take it all in. The editor in me wanted some of the cuts and transitions to move less briskly so that I could. And I don’t mean just slowing down the pace to a crawl, but more so just allowing the information to flow rather than gush.
There isn’t really much to say in terms of the history of Cannon Films and the particulars therein. This documentary covers all aspects of the company quite well, beginning with the time when Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus hadn’t actually bought the company yet to the very end when it all fell apart. It features a number of people who were involved with Cannon Films: producers, directors, writers, distributors, actors, etc. And none of the information given is meant to put Golan and Globus on a pedestal. The documentary instead just tells it how it was, including some of the less than savory details. For me, that makes the subject matter more compelling. Rather than sitting down and talking about how great something is, I prefer the warts and all approach. Most of the time, it’s much more interesting, and in this case, it’s absolutely essential to include it. Cannon was churning out film and after film, buying up theaters across the globe, purchasing film libraries, and making money hand over fist so fast that it just couldn’t keep up with the slow decline at the box office. The sister documentary to this, The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films, which was released almost at the same time (and was seen by many as outright competition), is supposedly more in the glorification business rather than illumination. I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t say that for sure, but that certainly doesn’t interest me as much.
Electric Boogaloo is nothing if not entertaining. It may run just a bit too fast for my tastes, but there’s plenty here to enjoy if you’re a film fan, especially if you grew up during the era when Cannon Films was at the height of its success. It’s a very gritty look at two gentlemen who dreamed of doing nothing else but producing movies, and actually managed to do it. It’s also a trip down memory lane with all of the explosions and bare breasts in full view, which is very fitting.
Despite Electric Boogaloo being released on Blu-ray elsewhere in the world, Warner Bros. have chosen to release it on DVD only here in the U.S.. To be fair, the picture quality is all over the place on this documentary because of its style and the range of clips that are utilized, which span everything from news broadcasts to movie bits. I suppose high definition wouldn’t make much of a difference, but it should have at least been an option. The audio is presented on an English 5.1 Dolby Digital track. It’s a very solid-looking and solid-sounding presentation with no real qualms to speak of, overall. There are also subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French for those might need them.
There’s also some extra material on this disc, as well. You’ll find a set of deleted scenes, as well as trailers for many of Cannon Films’ most popular releases: 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.
Electric Boogaloo certainly made a splash when it hit the festival circuit, and now you can see for yourself what all the fuss was about. It’s a great documentary that will, most likely, make you want to go out and buy or rent many of the movies featured in it. Covering them all here would likely defeat the purpose, so watch the doc instead. Very much recommended.
- Tim Salmons