Anyone who grew up in the 80’s or lived in the video rental store during the early 90’s knows who Cannon is. The Film group operated by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus is responsible for some of the cheesiest and most fun-loving movies to come out of the 1980’s era. Their philosophy of B Movies on A Movie Budgets is famous and while most movies were not well received critically, the vast majority of them has been reappraised as corner stones of the 1980’s film scene and even created the careers of stars like Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme and gave actors like Sylvester Stallone more creative control over their movies while other studios wouldn’t give them the time of day. While the group went under near the 1990’s after the debacle that was Masters of the Universe, the company still leaves a mark on the film industry that is still felt to this day, in particular in the B Movie scene as well as action films. So I thought what better way to commemorate the company that brought us so much 80’s cheese then to do a list of the Top 5 Films Produced By Cannon.
Keep in mind, this is my own personal list I based off of the quality of movie, the impact the movie had on the general public, the notoriety the film had (whether good or bad) for the company, and finally how well it represents Golan and Globus’ vision of the company. If you disagree or think I missed one, please leave a comment. I do love a good argument. Other than that, let’s get started with the list.
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
Now I know what you are saying and hold on just a second. Many of you are saying, Tanner this movie is absolutely terrible and you would be 100% right. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is a horrible movie. However, even though it is a terrible movie, it still represents one of the best qualities of Cannon Films. Cannon loved to pick up thought to be dead franchises such as the Death Wish series and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Also, in the process of procuring the rights for the movie they agreed that this could be Christopher Reeves’ movie with a story going through him, something that was relatively unheard of at the time. Cannon allowed its actors to play around with the film and to create it as they saw it. They of course didn’t do this for everybody, but when it came to Reeves and his playing of Superman, the man had at least earned the right to put his own touch on the series. It didn’t work at all well, but it showed that the company was willing to take risks and allow some of the more creative minds to do what they wanted with the film and as long as it made money, they didn’t need to do much with it.
3. American Ninja
Sure you have your Churk Norris’s and Jean Claude Van Damme’s of the world. But there are a few of those old action heroes out there that become lost to the ages. Maybe they just didn’t have the ‘it’ factor or maybe they just didn’t have the charisma but a lot of them just disappear and Cannon was one of those film companies who was willing to give anyone with a decent set of pecs the chance to be the action hero. Enter Michael Dudikoff. I mean, with a name like that your options are slim when it comes to the professional route. Either become an actor or become a stoner, take your pick. Dudikoff has this film to thank for creating his career by playing a soldier into a hardcore killing machine. While he may not be as remembered or seen in any Expendables movie (though that may change), he is certainly ripe with some good ole fashion 80’s cheese.
2. Missing in Action
Ever want to know why Chuck Norris is so famous as a hardcore badass instead of the white guy who lost to Bruce Lee? You can thank Cannon for that, you can also thank them for the Missing in Action series and its two sequels that shaped the career of Walker Texas Ranger. Playing Colonel James Braddock, Chuck Norris was able to take the straight up Rambo clone and make it a fun little B-Movie to watch on channels like AMC. While not the prettiest or most well made film, it is at least a fun watch and it launched the career of Chuck Norris. So you can thank them for all the Chuck Norris jokes that we used to hear all those years ago.
There is some debate on which of the Cannon films made the Belgian martial artists a star. But in my opinion, it is definitely Bloodsport. A simple amazing movie and one of the best films to come out of the Cannon studio, Bloodsport is one of those movies that anyone who seeks it out to see it loves it. It has the right amount of action and the right amount of suspense with a heavy handing of laughs to make it a great watch. Not to mention you have awesome characters who are cast perfectly in their roles. This is truly the perfect storm of amazing when it comes to 1980’s films and the best in the Cannon Film’s repertoire.
In conclusion, did Cannon create some good movies? I would like to think so. They may not be critical darlings and some of them are awful. But what they did gives us was B Movies on A List budgets you can thank them for creating companies like The Asylum and the SciFi Movies that would later spawn Sharknado. So they have definitely left their mark on the industry. Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this list then please like and subscribe for more from me.