ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: Some of the Stars of Cannon Films!

With Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films premiering in a couple of hours, we thought it might be a good time to look at a few of Cannon’s stars. We’ve already covered Lucinda Dickey, so if there’s any Lucinda Dickey in this post, it’s probably some kind of ninja illusion.

Charles Bronson‘s sequels to Death Wish (1974) powered Cannon for years. You’d think that all we needed was the first film. You’d be wrong. Menahem Golan and Yoraum Globus knew the world needed Death Wish II (1982) ; Death Wish 3 (1985); Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987); and Death Wish 5: Face of Death (1994). At the end of Death Wish 5: Face of Death, protagonist Paul Kersey tears off his mask and reveals to the meddling criminals, rapists and drug dealers of the world that he is not a mild-mannered architect/lethal vigilante at all, but rather Death himself. [Correction: This is not what happens in Death Wish 5: Face of Death at all].

Among the many films Bronson did for Cannon was Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989). I love the trailer for that because it comprises all of the obsessions of the 1980s in one place.

Death always brings a gun to a chess match.


Chuck Norris was the other piston in the two stroke engine that powered Cannon Films. Engines have more than 2 pistons, you say? Not engines powered by Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson. Norris starred in a variety of action movies where kicked ass and brought virtue and honor back to the U.S.A. Or roundhouse kicked it back into the U.S.A. Movies like: Missing In Action (1984); Invasion U.S.A. (1985); Delta Force (1986); Delta Force 2: The Columbian Connection (1990); Missing In Action 2: The Beginning (1985); Braddock: Missing In Action 3 (1988).  And when his Cannon days were done, Norris went on to do a little show called Walker, Texas Ranger.

Shooting liberty and justic for all.

MM Alumnus Jean-Claude Van Damme was a Menahem Golan discovery, in the sense that JCVD worked hard to be discovered by Golan. He got a role as an extra in Breakin‘ (1984) before going on to star in Bloodsport (1988), which has some rare footage of the now destroyed Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. In Cyborg (1989) he plays Gibson Rickenbacker, a man who destroys hooligans of the future post-apocalyptic wasteland with only the power of his name. He also helps save humanity by protecting a woman with the secret to curing a future plague.

Poor Michael Dudikoff. He was supposed to be the next big thing in martial arts action, but he never really got there . He was Cannon’s American Ninja, starring in three sequels to the first American Ninja (1985): American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987); American Ninja III: Blood Hunt (1989); and American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990).  In 1986, he used his ninja skills to replace Chuck Norris in the Invasion U.S.A. franchise, playing the hero, Matt Hunter in Avenging Force (1986).

Master of All Forms of Freedom-jitsu.


Sho Kosugi was in a whole passel of Cannon ninja movies, playing the evil ninja or, sometimes, the mentor ninja. He faced off against Ninja Franco Nero in Enter The Ninja (1981). But he was the hero of Revenge of the Ninja (1983). In Ninja III: The Domination (1984) he fights with Lucinda Dickey (who plays an aerobic instructor possessed by the restless spirit of a dead ninja). According to wikipedia, he heads the Sho Kosugi Institute. I’m sure it’s not an center for Advanced Ninja Studies.

And a special, personal shout-out to director Albert Pyun. His film Cyborg will always hold a special place in my heart.

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO screening times:
Mon., Sept. 8th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 10th, 9:00 AM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 14th, 12:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 11

This post was originally posted on the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness Blog.

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