The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films
(Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Dudikoff, Eli Roth, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2014) 2021 / MVD Visual)
Overview: The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films is a documentary about two Israeli-born cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who in pursuit of the American Dream turned the Hollywood power structure upside down, producing over 300 films and becoming the most powerful independent film company in the world.
Up close and personal, the film examines the complex relationship between two contradictory personalities whose combined force fueled their success and eventual collapse.
Blu-ray Verdict: This authorized documentary on Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus was, in typical Cannon Films fashion, rushed into production to be completed before a competing film was released - the decidedly UN-authorized ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS.
It not only beat that film into release it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The French debut was fitting since Cannes was the place where the legend of Golan and Globus was made back in the 80s.
Director Hilla Medalia spends the first portion of the movie showing how the two cousins established a beachhead in their native Israel in the 60s producing movies which were commercial and critical successes.
Remarkably, the duo also got four of their films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film including one Directed by Golan himself (OPERATION THUNDERBOLT) - something that has gotten little notice over the years.
Their first English language movie, TRUNK TO CAIRO (with George Sanders!), did not fare so well. Israel proved to be too small a pond for the Go-Go Boys to fish in, so they set off for Hollywood in 1980.
Their first pictures did not make much of a splash, but they soon got some notice for hiring the likes of Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris to lead their budget action pictures.
But, it was one of their cheapest and most hastily produced low low budget pictures which boosted their finances, BREAKIN, which grossed almost $100M in adjusted dollars.
Golan was always the creative partner, while Globus was the money guy. As is said in various ways during the Doc - Golan spent money as quickly as Globus could raise it.
At Cannes they would make deals for films that were not only uncompleted, but often unwritten and even without a title. Golan famously signed Jean Luc Godard to a contract on cloth napkin.
What is noteworthy here is that what we think of as Cannon Films really lasted only five years. By the end of the 80s their lavish spending (including buying movie theater chains and EMI studios) put them on the verge of bankruptcy.
Golan was essentially forced out of his own company and founded the short-lived and only modestly successful 21st Century Corporation. Globus hooked up with Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti to not only save Cannon, but, also to purchase MGM studios.
That partnership ended in scandal, and 21st Century did not even last until the end of the 20th. Both Cousins (who were at that time no longer on speaking terms) ended up retreating to Israel.
In closing, Go-Go Boys takes a much more personal approach to telling the story of Cannon films than the chatty gossipy ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. The latter Doc is more entertaining and it gets into more of the downside of the partnership.
Still, Go-Go Boys definitely has its merits. Some of the interviewees like studio exec Tom Pollock and Director Boaz Davidson give insight into the business end and actors Michael Dudikoff and a, very colorful and enthusiastic, Jean-Claude Van Damme give us some behind the scenes details.
The cooperation of the two principles (which they denied to the competing film) gives the viewer a more personal look at the men and their careers. Director Medalia does push them on their failures and gets a few morsels from Globus, but Golan was intransigent to the end (he passed away less than three months after the Premiere).
He refused to talk about the colossal bomb with SUPERMAN IV and only discussed the slightly less embarrassment of OVER THE TOP in terms of bragging about Sylvester Stallone’s paycheck.
Ergo, it is a heartfelt Documentary, if not a fully frank one. [GR] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Original Theatrical Trailer