If you grew up in the 1980s, the silver and gunmetal blue Cannon logo was one that you saw on the screen quiet often. You probably saw it even more frequently if the movies that you paid to see were about break dancing, ninjas, or vigilantes. Cannon quickly became the studio synonymous with B-movies (like AIP before them) in the “Me Decade” that were made on shoe-string budgets that pleased the hungry action and exploitation fans of the era.
Cannon’s founders, Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus, also became inseparable from their company in the press and promotion of their product and studio and this is the primary subject of Hilla Medalia’s 2014 documentary film on the rise and fall of the purveyors of cinematic gold (in the eyes of Golan, Globus, and their legions of fans).
MVD Rewind’s new blu-ray (and dvd) version of The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films doesn’t add a ton of bells and whistles to the film outside of a trailer, reversible sleeve, and mini-poster, and it doesn’t have to since this is actually (and surprisingly) the first home video release for the film. Why it took this long is anyone’s guess, but unlike Golan and Globus whose productions were famous for their break-neck pacing, this one took the road less traveled.
Medalia begins the film with a plethora of clips highlighting the work of Golan and Globus from their years as one of the most profitable and prolific movie production teams in Israel’s histrory (making films such as Lemon Popsicle, I Love You Rosa and The House on Chelouche Street). The footage will certainly be a surprise to viewers who are only familiar with their American film catalog, and the clips and sound bites from some of the directors and actors who worked with them in the early days paint the picture that would come to define them as a pair of energetic hustlers who loved movies.
From there, the documentary shifts focus to their relocation to America and the founding of Cannon Films in 1979. At this point, the majority of the footage consists of news stories from the 1980s, primarily focusing on their first “break-out” success with Breakin’. The ode to break dancing quickly established the pair as hit makers, raking in over 100 million dollars on a $1 million dollar budget. The grainy footage, and the interview clips from Golan and Globus, set the stage for what Cannon would become, but unfortunately, not much time is spent on any other film over the course of the documentary.
There are also few modern clips from the people that worked with the pair in front of or behind the camera, with most of the clips from the actors and directors being culled from archive footage. The notable exception is Jean Claude Van Damme’s story about meeting “the Boys” as a karate-kicking waiter at an upscale restaurant in Los Angeles that would eventually lead to Bloodsport and Van Damme’s film career. While a number of their stars have passed on, there were certainly others available who could have given a modern glimpse at the two impresarios and their business methods and personalities.
The rest of the documentary consists of more archival news footage about the rise and fall of Cannon Films, and those looking for more about Golan and Globus, and less about their film output will be satisfied here. The interview clips clearly portray the love that they had for the movie business and each other, and they both express the disappointment that they felt when they had to finally shutter the studio.
In comparison to Mark Hartley’s Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Film, which is firmly focused on the studio’s choices, hits, and misses, The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films is about the guys that made it all possible. When put together, both films combine to tell the whole story, but on their own, they both miss half of the story.
The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films will be released on July 20 and retails for $19.95.