So far, Mark Hartley has made two thoroughly enjoyable documentaries about separate B-movie production houses – Not Quite Hollywood, about the golden age of Oz-ploitation films in the 70s and 80s, and Machete Maidens Unleashed, about the grindhouse movies that came out of the Philippines. Basically, if there was once a business specializing in schlock films full of violence, nudity, and offensiveness, Mark Hartley is the guy to tell that story.
Hartley is back in Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, with the help of Brett Ratner and his moneybags buddy James Packer, to tell the story of Cannon Films, a fly-by-night operation run by two Israeli cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus (the “bad news Jews” as one competitor calls them) that went on to put out such 80s classics as the accidental hit Breakin’, and its disastrous, titular sequel, Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. While a loving retrospective, the interviews with the Cannon haters are the best parts of the movie. “They were like the Weinstein brothers, only the Weinsteins cared about quality,” says one rival exec.
As I mentioned in my wrap up of TIFF and Fantastic Fest, where I saw this, it’s a lot of fun, and I could watch Mark Hartley’s B-movie docs all day. The only problem with Electric Boogaloo, if you can call it that, is that there’s maybe too much ground to cover. I could watch an entire separate doc just about Over The Top (like, has anyone but me pointed out that Stallone’s son is named “Mike Hawk” in the movie?). Or Bloodsport, which Electric Boogaloo barely touches on. It’ll give you a bad case of Bloodsport blue balls, which you should know going in.
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is being distributed by Drafthouse Films, though a release date hasn’t yet been set.