Documentary - Electric Boogaloo

Electric Boogaloo

Steve Taylor-Bryant takes a look at the 80's (again) and a fascinating documentary...

As I approach my 40th birthday I have been looking back over my life. I have a list of films from the 1980s that are ridiculed by some, lauded by others, but in that list are some titles that, if a script writer or studio executive suggested making them now, Hollywood would bite their hand off. One such film is the 1987 Dolph Lundgren vehicle Masters of the Universe. Yes, when you watch it back now, it may be dated. Yes it is definitely cheesy but, in a world where it is now the norm to reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Paddington Bear gets his own film with celebrity voices and no one bats an eyelid, we should all take the time to thank the visionaries that created the Hollywood we now have.

"They were the forerunners of the Weinsteins, the difference is the Weinsteins cared about quality."

This is by far the best quote in Mark Hartley's new documentary, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. It is the best because it is spot on the money; The Weinsteins have produced film after film and they have nearly all hit the box office like a juggernaut but it is cousins Menahem Golan and Yorum Globus that shaped the real Hollywood. Purchasing Cannon Films in the late 1970s, these businessmen were film fanatics but had an almost maniacal way of doing business. What they said went and the world had Ninja film after Ninja film, horror films that couldn’t even be classed as B movie and the two Chucks forced on it.

Hartley uses interviews from such legends of the 1980s as Richard Chamberlain, Molly Ringwald, and He-Man himself, Dolph Lundgren, and film footage from some forgotten gems and some Hollywood classics to tell the story of Cannon and how they managed the film business. They had some great successes, Breakin' was a box office smash, Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson had some real fame during this era, and the cousins even managed to get the A-list Sylvester Stallone on board for Cobra and a couple of others. But they also wasted time and money on no-hopers. The Superman legacy was over when they got behind Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and the world certainly didn't need Nuclear Man, King Solomon’s Mines had the opportunity to be epic but, alas, it wasn't to be as budgets didn't materialise and, as with most things in the 1980s, things were rushed.

What Electric Boogaloo does so well is it reminds those of us that lived in that era what our upbringings were really like, and how our tastes were formed in our formative years. I am derided by the younger, more educated team members and colleagues here at /G-f for watching and loving those things no one else does, were Golan and Globus wholly responsible for this? Well, they certainly played their part. Electric Boogaloo also shows the new generation of film fans just how bad Hollywood could actually be and that maybe they should button it and thank a higher power that that there is semblance of quality nowadays.

Electric Boogaloo also puts Michael Dudikoff, Elliot Gould, and Bo Derek in the same picture. That is straight out of the minds of Golan and Globus.

Historical, cheesy to the point of cringeworthy, and a fascinating look at an era my therapist wishes I’d forget.

Image - IMDb