Cannon Films | Offscreen
The Cannon film studio, run by Israelian cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, is synonymous with the eighties – a time of superficial excess and bravado, rampant consumerism and neoliberalism. President Ronald Reagan like none other symbolises the political zeitgeist and Cannon Films almost seems to be the official propaganda service of the White House, with All American Heroes like Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson and Sylvester Stallone defending the Free World from the communist “Evil Empire”.
Cannon also stood for a production model in which outright pulp films got blown up to blockbuster proportions. Ninjas, bodybuilders and bazookas take over the cinema screens, and JCVD gets moulded into a Hollywood film star. The bravado of the two Cannon founders had such a great impact on film production and marketing that its influence is still noticable in today's film industry.
Neatly divided between Cinema Nova and Cinematek, no less than 18 Cannon productions – the good, the bad and the worst of their colossal filmography – appeal to the ultimate “guilty pleasure” gut feeling.
Belgian national pride JCVD in the role of Frank Dux, a fighter who participates in an illegal tournament in the darkest alleys of Hong Kong in which he will face a ruthless, deadly opponent. The first starring role of the muscles-from-Brussels in this martial arts classic.
In the 80's, the US were convinced that hundreds of missing American soldiers were still held captive in Vietnamese war camps. Reason enough for Cannon to send Chuck Norris to Saigon, pissed off and guns a-blazing in the film that relaunched his career.
Terrorists hijack a plane and set course for Beirut. Leave it to commando unit “Delta Force” to take care of things. An amusing, explosive right-wing fantasy with main roles for the moustache of Chuck Norris, the head of Lee Marvin and a rocket-firing motorcycle!
Jon Voight and Eric Roberts escape from their heavily guarded prison, only to get stuck on an uncontrollable train, set on a course to destruction in the icy landscape of Alaska. An intense and existentialist action film, based on an original screenplay by Akira Kurosawa.
The director of “Not Quite Hollywood” unleashes his energetic documentary style on the infamous production house Cannon Films. Deranged film clips and juicy anecdotes take turns in creating a vivid image of the insane work ethics of the Golan & Globus duo.
Cuban communist guerilla soldiers land on the beaches of Florida and try to kick-start their revolution by terrorising a small suburb. Archetypical 80's bad guy Richard Lynch leads the attack, but luckily Chuck Norris comes to the rescue – with a rocket launcher in his jeans pocket.
Aerobics teacher Christie gets possessed by the spirit of an evil ninja. As a willess murder instrument she has to bend to his violent thirst for vengeance. Cannon made many ninja films, but none as insane as this deranged mixture of “Revenge of the Ninja” and “The Exorcist”.
Ever on a quest for justice, Charles Bronson frowns his forehead and wipes the filth off the streets with revolvers, machine guns and even a bazooka. The third part of the legendary revenge saga goes totally over-the-top and almost seems like porn for ultra right-wing weapon fetishists.
A journalist has to write an article on a New York pimp, but makes up a fictitious person. By coincidence it seems very similar to an actual pimp, now convicted of murder. When he finds out, he sees an opportunity to get out of his funk. A crime drama with an excellent, frighteningly intense Morgan Freeman.
In this prequel of the first movie, Chuck Norris is locked away in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. Not a smart move by the Vietnamese - because Chuck won't be happy until nothing but smouldering remains are what's left of the prison camp.
A sinister paramilitary group organises hunts on human prey in the southern Bayou. But when a former CIA agent winds up as their target, lines blur between the hunter and the hunted. An 80's version of “The Most Dangerous Game” featuring the ultimate Cannon action hero Michael Dudikoff.
A police detective chases a serial killer: a sex-crazed psychopath who has the habit of stripping his clothes before killing his victims. Bronson is excellent as the reactionary cynical cop, as is the smooth, creepy psycho he's chasing in this suspenseful thriller.
A writer awakens with a terrible hangover, blood in his car, and a woman's head in his basement. This remarkable neo-noir with Ryan O'Neal and Isabella Rossellini got laughed off the screen on its release, but grew in cult status because of its bizarre atmosphere that conjures up an involuntary Lynchian experience.
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