For a certain age group of young boys in particular the Canon Group shaped their expectations of action films. In the late 70s through the mid 80s they created action heroes (Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme) and pushed the boundaries of what could be done with a tiny budget. I always said the first superhero film I ever saw was Revenge of the Ninja. In that film ninjas climbed walls like Spider-Man, they had mind control powers, and better gadgets than Batman. Other similar classics include Missing in Action, The Delta Force, the Death Wish sequels, and Kickboxer. The Canon Group also dabbled in virtually every other genre of film too, including musical (Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo) and art house films.
Now Mark Hartly (Not Quite Hollywood) is documenting the world of this studio started by two Israeli-born movie fanatics with his documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Canon Films. The studio eventually produced over 120 films and was called “seventh Hollywood major.”
“No other production organization in the world today,” proclaimed Roger Ebert in 1987, “has taken more chances with serious, marginal films than Cannon.” The documentary is in preproduction now and set for a late 2012 release with Drafthouse Films handling the theatrical run and apparently any other form of distribution the film gets in the United States. The theatrical release of the film is planned to coincide with a traveling roadshow retrospective of Canon films. Not Quite Hollywood was a fantastic romp through the world of Aussie exploitation so this look at Canon Films should be just as much fun.
Did you grow up watching Ninja III: The Domination or Invasion USA? Are you excited to see these classic films covered in a documentary? Let us know in the comments.