I’m a real sucker for film industry documentaries in general, but seeing one about Cannon Films was akin to finding the holy Grail to me. Okay, mild over-exaggeration there, but rather fitting, given the company we’re talking about here. I hold a very gleeful affection towards several titles Cannon produced back in the day, before their ultimate downfall. The sequels to Charles Bronson’s Death Wish series in particular hold a very special place in my heart, especially the third one that is so crazy and over the top it’s like watching a cartoon. A cartoon with gratuitous glorification of violence, but cartoon still.
In many ways, this held many surprises to me. I hadn’t ever realized just how many of Cannon’s movies I was already familiar with. Admittedly most I only knew merely by name, but still, the number of them was surprisingly high. But now that I think about it, there is a certain logic to it. Cannon films was humongous in its day, so coming across titles from their extensive back catalog makes perfect sense. Especially due to their cult status, in both the good and the bad. As it so happens, I also accumulated a very long list of new flicks that I simply need to watch one day. Some of them sound so horrible that there’s a perverted curiosity involved and others have even some pop cultural iconography involved. All the various Ninja movies the company made in particular look so ridiculously dumb yet intriguing in the way they were produced, that I just have to see them now. When you have something as weird as Ninja III: The Domination, a movie that combines the aerobics craze of the 80s with a ninja action story and then, just to spice things up, it adds the Exorcist style possession gimmick (with a spirit of a ninja, not the Devil) to drive the plot, you just know you’re getting something absolutely unique and astonishing. In a magnificent slow-motion trainwreck sort of way.
Overall, it’s a very informative documentary to anyone even mildly curious of the company or the movies that they made. It that manages to shed some light on the insanity behind how the way Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus conducted business at Canon, which is fascinating beyond all belief. It’s stranger than fiction. The stories that get told here are absolutely amazing, it’s not that often that you find yourself laughing your ass of in a serious documentary. And occasionally you’re provided few droplets of insight as to why and how certain movies ended up being made or why they turned out the way they did. After watching this it’s pretty easy to see just why Superman IV: The Quest for Peace ended up being so infamously bad and what the hell was the deal with Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.