Blu-ray Review: The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films

STUDIO: MVD Visual | DIRECTOR: Hilla Medalia
RELEASE DATE: July 20, 2021 | PRICE: DVD $9.99, Blu-ray $14.99
SPECS: NR | 98 min. | Documentary | stereo

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2 | Audio  | Video  | Overall  1/2

Released sporadically in 2014, The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films  was the first documentary completed about the rise and fall of Cannon Films, followed a few months later by Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films from Australia’s Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood). But The Go-Go Boys, an Israeli production presented in English and Hebrew from acclaimed documentarian Hilla Medalia (Dancing in Jaffa) is considered the “official” look as its subjects—Israeli cousins Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus, producers who alternated  between artier films from major directors and schlocky action yarns. Here they actually sit down for interviews with the filmmaker and sometimes they spill the beans–and  occasionally they don’t.

Menachem Golan (l.) and Yoram Globus

The Go-Go Boys allows the colorful cousins to tell their own sides of a most unlikely Hollywood fairy tale and–and eventual tragedy–tracing their early careers producing hits in their homeland, including the Oscar-nominees Operation Thunderbolt and The House on Chelouche Street  and the popular musical Kazablan. After setting up shop in America, they rise fast, with Globus handling the business dealings and Golan overseeing production on such low-budget hits as martial arts outings Bloodsport and several ninja movies, violent actioners offering the likes of Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris, breakdancing pictures and highfalutin fare from auteurs Polanski (Pirates), Casavettes (Love Streams), Altman (Fool for Love), Godard (King Lear) and Zeffirelli (Otello)

Along with the revelatory interviews here boasting Golan (who passed away in 2014) and Globus, there’s a nice mix of commentary from Norris, action expert Michael Dudikoff, director Andrei Konchalovsky and star Jon Voight of Runaway Train, film executive Tom Pollock, and director Eli Roth, a Cannon movie devotee. These talking heads are supplemented by lively archival news footage from American and Israeli TV and Cannes Film Festival coverage, as well as segments from a 60 Minutes story on the company. Thankfully, director Medalia delves into the company’s demise, which was hastened by Golan’s penchant for underfunded overproduction and the failure of Cannon’s attempt at a big-time Hollywood blockbuster with the 1987’s disastrous Superman IV.

The post-Cannon years are also surveyed with insightfulness and sincerity , as the cousins unceremoniously part ways: Golan attempts to get back into producing movies by launching  21st Century Films, while Globus partners in buying MGM Studios with Italian financier and fraudster Giancarlo Parretti.

Overall, The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films offers an engrossing, unpredictable story that plays like a Hollywood fantasy that stings when things go wrong. But here the stakes are higher because those sharing in the fantasy happen to be members of the same family.

Buy or Rent The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.