2014 / Director. Hilla Medalia.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
When Mark Hartley's ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS was released earlier this year it ended with a title card stating that the two Cannon founders (Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus) declined to be involved in the film and later produced their own documentary called THE GO GO BOYS. In true Cannon form, the alternative film was fast tracked and released ahead of BOOGALOO. I made no bones about my dissatisfaction with ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. I thought it to be a pessimistic, sombre and disrespectful portrait of Cannon Films. It was by no means a bad film but it didn't pay enough respect and essentially smeared the Cannon name. And so it was with anticipation that I eagerly awaited THE GO GO BOYS and I was curious to hear the alternative story as told by the two men themselves. This film lacks the polish and glossy appeal of BOOGALOO but it tells a much more coherent and contextual story. Beginning with their early years making films in Israel to their push on the American market the film presents an overall arch that chronicles the rise and fall of these two passionate cousins. What appealed to me about THE GO GO BOYS was that it was, for the most part, a celebration. It affectionately explores the films that made Cannon one of the most successful companies in Hollywood and it explores various production back stories and the inner workings of the company. A lot of the archival footage was the same as featured in BOOGALOO but this film benefits from personal home movie reels and other company related footage. It is much more of an inside look and contrary to what many may expect, it never skirts around the company's failures and downfalls. Despite Golan and Globus producing the film, director Hilla Madalia pressed them for information regardless. Menehem is particularly uncomfortable discussing failures and one particular scene sees him react very strongly to objectionable questions. It is both enlightening and poignant to hear the two men discuss their relationship (affectionately and critically) and their reunion after 20 years of estrangement is a lovely touch. They tell of their personal losses to the company and share some of their regrets. Some of the guests interviewed for the film include Eli Roth, Jon Voight, Michael Dudikof, Jean Claud Van Damme, Boaz Davidson and Billy Drago amongst others. This line up might not be as impressive as BOOGALOO's but their stories are much more nostalgic and kind hearted. Eli Roth best represented by own eagerness with his recollections of Cannon celebrating the awesomeness of their catalogue. He makes a point of how offended he gets when people pass off Cannon as rubbish or bullshit. He makes a point that their films are relevant to their time and connected with audiences in a much more profound way than many of the other Hollywood counterparts. And so while it is a shabby production, with strangely low-res footage of their catalogued films it is nonetheless a wonderful reflection of a company that, for a moment in time, took the world by storm.