Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Junesploitation Day 10: Cannon!

We're Cannon Films, and we're dynamite!

Check out these 10 Essential Cannon Films!


  1. DEATH WISH 3 (1985) on Amazon Prime.

    November 1, 1985

    To: My friends at the National Rifle Association, The Republican Party and The AARP.

    Re: "Death Wish 3"

    Hi, folks, Charles Bronson here inviting you to come out and see my latest hit movie, "Death Wish 3," opening wide across the USA this November. It's a safe and law-abiding way for you to live vicariously through the actions of my character, Paul Kersey, all those fantasies of things you wish you could do and say in the open, but obviously cannot. You know, those repressed but understandable feelings of anger and impotence one gets at seeing the face of our communities and country change so rapidly before our eyes, the sight of our cities becoming overrun by people who don't think, act or hold the values we hold dear and made this country great.

    And, unlike vapid movie starlets of good-looking vapid young actors (though we had to cast a few token kids, bad white guys and minorities on-screen so they could relate to them), we take pride featuring in leading parts relatable role models like Ed Lauter, Gavan O'Herlihy, Martin Balsam and myself (naturally) who only recur to violence as a last resort when push comes to shove.

    This is a movie that is violent not because it wants to, but because it needs to drive home a point. It is my hope that, besides entertaining you, "Death Wish 3" will start a dialogue in your home and close circles about the choices we make as a country keeping the story shown in this movie in the realm of a cautionary tale, an exaggerated view of a dystopian reality that could nevertheless come to pass if we as a nation don't take steps to prevent such bleak outlook from reaching that point-of-no-return we so dread to imagine.

    Under President Reagan's assured guidance and leadership we can rest assured that our nation is in the hands of a reasonable and intelligent leader for whom compromise is not a dirty word. Someone who will work with congress and reach a consensus with leaders from the opposition party, who will be happy to have something small achieved rather than oppose it sight-unseen along party-line principle.

    That's what's so great about my producers in "Death Wish 3," a couple of driven Jews from Israel (as opposed to the Hollywood elite liberal type I've been surrounded with my whole time in the entertainment industry) that understand that movies can't just be entertainment. They have to have an art to them and a point of view, to advance an agenda bigger than just shallow moment-to-moment rushes of adrenaline. That's why I'm so enthusiastically recommending you to come see "Death Wish 3," folks. This movie represents us, what we think, what we feel as a nation coming to terms with the epidemic of violence and crime driving us away from our cities.

    God willing, our views will be shared by a new generation that will carry forth our visions and values for decades and generations to come. There's no time like the present though, especially given the uncertainty of what the future holds. On my most recent visit to Santa Barbara I was talking with Nancy's astrologer (nice fellow), and he predicted that in the future there would be no radios or radio programs. That people would be able to listen in portable devices (like Walkmans without cassettes) complete radio shows tailored to each person's desired preferences. Can you imagine folks that, 25 or 30 years from now, a group of hippie-cuddling punks in Chicago could sit down and record their own radio show in which they might take apart or criticize the movie I'm inviting you to see? That will be the day a politician from that Daley-run corruption zest pool will give us a President-elect of our United States. I know, I know, sometimes I amuse myself.

    Jill sends you all her love. Thank you for reading, go see "Death Wish 3" and may God bless our country and the Wildley Moore company. See you at the movies.

  2. Lifeforce (DVD): I have just finished it and I want to re-watch it! It would be so cool if I could see this in the cinema. This movie is bat-shit crazy (sorry for the bad pun). I had no idea what was coming next, and I loved that about it. So glad I bought the DVD (thanks Patrick).

  3. Street Knight (1993, dir. Albert Magnoli)

    Having already seen more than my share of Cannon movies, I decided to watch the FINAL CANNON MOVIE EVER RELEASED. Bittersweet. It's another starring vehicle for kenpo master Jeff Speakman, who is good at fighting and bad at most other things. He plays a retired cop who gets drawn into a gang war. The movie is mostly lifeless; it feels like a lot of Cannon films but lacks the demented quality that makes them so special. Still, I'm happy to have seen it because it is HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT.

  4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

    When I first saw this as part of Scary Movie Month I was pretty disappointed as I was coming off the back of the first TTCM and I was expecting a movie, not necessarily the same as the first one but with a similar scare value at least. In that rehard it failed to deliver. But with the tonne of love the movie gets, especially from Patrick, I thought it may be worthy of a second go with the context of Junesploitation maybe being a more appropriate setting. It worked.

    TTCM2 is an over the top, balls out, in your face mess. And it knows it. And it loves it.
    This is the movie adaptation of the cartoon adaptation of the first movie. Everyone is one note. Everyone has a big defining feature, both visually and vocally. Everyone yells...a lot. There is subtext, such as 80s economics and treatment of veterans, but nothing overly deep or that is portrayed in any way that detracts from violence and gore.
    Based on my experience with it, I would recommend not going into it with expectations of Horror, but with your expectations set to Exploitation/Grindhouse/Drive-In Fun...you know, the kind of fun that involves cutting peoples faces off, then having them stand up and walk around a bit before falling over to die. FUN!

    1. Sweet - I've been sitting on an unopened blu-ray of this for awhile and was waiting for SMM - didn't realize it was Cannon so I think I'll watch it tonight!

  5. Lifeforce (1985)

    After years of namby-pamby angst-ridden vampires like Edward Cullen, Lifeforce reminded me of something crucial about vampires - THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE SCARY. They can still be sexy as hell (cough - Mathilda May - cough), but we can't leave out the whole mass-murdering demon part. Wonderful practical effects combined with a batshit crazy storyline make this a real gem.

  6. Between Brad turning around on Texas Chainsaw 2 and all the love Lifeforce is getting, Cannon Day is shaping up to be the best day ever, for I HAVE BEEN VINDICATED.

  7. The Delta Force (1986)

    On one hand, I respect that for the first 45 minutes or so Menahem Golan tried to stay close to the truth of the real-life hijacking of TWA flight 847 in 1985. It's legitimately upsetting, and parts of it are handled with as close to something like grace as Golan can get. On the other hand, the movie is a Chuck Norris revenge fantasy where Chuckles doesn't join the action (other than a few very brief scenes) for almost an hour. It's a schizophrenic movie that doesn't really know what it wants to be, but the second half is totally in line with what you want from a Cannon action movie (read: batshit goofy fun).


    This was part of Cannon’s short-lived “Cannon Movie Tales” line, intended to compete with and/or rip-off Disney. I figured it’d make a nice alternative to Maleficent. Unfortunately, the movie is downright aggressive in its cutesy, family-friendly tone. We’re a long way from the usual Cannon street punks here. Check out the eclectic cast: Kenny Baker, Morgan Fairchild, Tahnee Welch, and Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos… WHOM I’VE MET! Still, I prefer trashy Cannon to whimsical Cannon.

  9. Hospital Massacre AKA X-Ray (1982)

    No wonder they changed the name to "X-Ray" because if you put "Massacre" in the title you better have a damn massacre. 10 kills in the hospital through the span of 90 minutes is decent, but....wait, I stand corrected, that's basically a kill every 10 minutes, pretty damn strong! Didn't feel like it though until the last 15 or 20 minutes. This was more like "General Hospital" as Barbi Benton struts her stuff (which I have never been a fan of. Sorry to be crass, but she has weird looking, fake boobies, a quick search of the "world wide net web" says they are real, but I'm not buying it based on what I see in this film) and the guy playing Dr. Saxon has AMAZING hair. So does the guy playing Barbi Benton's husband, who looks like Warren Beatty.

    Slow moving and the only thing that kept my interest were the weird characters that kept popping up and made me anticipate some "Twilight Zone" finale which never happened. I think Scream Factory recently released this and given their quality of selections, I am perplexed as to why. Had been hearing about his for years so was really excited to see it. Forgive me if the review seems bitter, just a bit let down.

    Trivia - The same director of "Going Bananas" (1987) starring Dom DeLuise and Jimmy Walker. Awful as a director but is still going strong as a producer.

  10. Death Wish 3--

    The NRA's wet dream... with music by Jimmy Page!

  11. Missing in Action (1984) – First Viewing:

    I think this is mid-level Cannon and Mid-Level Chuck Norris. Norris' Expendables buddy Stallone goes back and wins Vietnam better in Rambo: First Blood Part II (It's more colorful and entertaining). I would say skip this and watch a better Chuck Norris movie like Sidekicks (I’m not joking. I really like Sidekicks).

  12. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

    This was a mess, from subplots that don't go anywhere to feeling like I've suddenly been transported to a romantic comedy. However, I found that as it went on, I could feel affection for it growing. I think it's because the cast seems so earnest. They aren't making a Superman movie with a slashed budget and a terrible script. They're making a Superman movie.

  13. Death Wish 3 (1985)

    As an employee of F This Movie I was contractually obligated to watch this movie.

  14. Death Wish 3 (1985):

    Exploding cars! Exploding buildings! Exploding bullet holes! Death Wish 3 has all these things and so much more. It is the story of a gentle guy who likes three things: cabbage rolls, opera, and killing creeps, and he is just kidding about opera.
    I like this movie's message: people of all creeds and races can come together and achieve great things, if by "great things" we mean mass murder. And in the world that DW3 creates, that totally IS what we mean! As Patrick writes in today's Heavy Action column, this movie is bonkers - but it commits so hard to its particular way of being bonkers that you can't help but get pulled along for the ride.

  15. Mako: Jaws of Death (1976) trailer / full movie

    The very first Jaws rip-off couldn't be more different from its namesake... most notably, the sharks are the good guys! Richard Jaeckel, exploitation's Ben Gazzara, possesses the gift to telepathically communicate with sharks, provided he's wearing a magic amulet given him by a Filipino witch doctor. He's a real environmentalist, and loves being mankind's liason to the shark kingdom, but he's also a complete sap, and accidentally ends up selling out his shark buddies to sleazy showbiz types and corrupt scientists over and over. He's a psycho to boot, and enacts a vengeful campaign of stabbings and harpoonings against those who've hurt his chondrichthye brethren; meaning that, in a movie titled Mako: Jaws of Death, the majority of on-screen kills are made by a human being.

    The Barbarians (1987) trailer / full movie

    Perfectly executed sword & sorcery cheesiness. Iconic identical twin bodybuilders The Barbarian Brothers star in a boilerplate fantasy adventure, playing up their anachronistic SoCal personalities. Tons of 'charming' brotherly bickering and lame ad-libbed one-liners. The super strong supporting cast includes Richard Lynch, Eva La Rue, and Michael Berryman. Features the strangest-looking screen dragon I think I've ever seen (sort of a giant inside-out crocodile crossed with a Beetlejuice Sandworm.) From the director of Cannibal Holocaust.

  16. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

    "The saw is family" This movie is a fun watch. I havent seen it since i was a teen and i dont know why i waited so long. It's pretty much a comedy with some gore which is fine with me. There are soo many great one liners too! It doesn't touch the original which is one of my favorite horror films, but it does entertain the crap out of me.

  17. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

    I'm a little smarter than Brad (give him a break - he was raised by dingoes) so it only took me the first time to appreciate this gem. Nothing like the original but no point trying to match that classic anyway. After a couple nights of PG-13 "horror" it was nice to see something a bit more "adult" that was still a lot of fun!

  18. Cyborg (1989)

    If you don't like this movie, might I suggest that you are wrong.

  19. Kickboxer (1989)

    I don't think I would've sought revenge for my dbag Baba Booey brother (and his AC Slater hubris), but that's what makes JCVD more awesome than me (that, and his glistening, sinewy muscles [from Brussels]). Feels like Bloodsport lite, but at least Kickboxer has this sweet dance sequence.

    1. Great choice Doug.

      My favourite part of the whole movie is imagining the scriptwriting meeting where they solved this little doosie:

      "hey how do we explain that these guys are brothers, yet they look nothing alike and one has a smooth as chocolate Belgian accent?"

      "Why don't we get them to do some sweet mui thai training in a park where the reminisce about being raised by parents in different countries?!"