This movie sure had some changes before it got to the screen. Bonzo was going to be a real ape* before Deep Roy was cast, while Big Bad Joe Hopkins was going to be played by Bud Spencer — on the 1986 Cannon reel of upcoming films this was called Ben, Bonzo and Big Bad Joe — and Menahem Golan — who wrote the script, based on the Kofiko books by Tamar Bornstein-Lazar — and Sam Firstenberg were going to direct until Boaz Davidson was picked.
What emerges is pure Cannon.
Benjamin (David Menden-Hall, who if he annoyed you in Over the Top is ready to destroy your mind and play with it) is on an adventure with his guardian Joe (Dom DeLuise) and friend Mozambo (Jimmie Walker) in Africa. Specifically Momba-Zomba Land.
There, he meets Bonzo, a talking monkey who can not only fly a plane, but can practically fly — or if we follow the old TSR Marvel Super Hero rules, he’s like The Hulk who has Class 5000 Hyper-Leaping — and the whole story is about Herbert Lom as a cop stealing the monkey and putting him in a circus and that never works out whether it’s King Kong or Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Or Going Bananas.
A lot of people debate, “What’s your favorite Cannon movie?”
No one has picked this one.
*Clyde the Organgatan from Every Which Way but Loose and Any Which Way You Can has a meeting at Menahem Golan’s office and there was an attempt to sign him as a Cannon actor, if you can believe that. When it fell through, Golan introduced Deep Roy to Davidson and said, “Meet your new monkey!” This story seems like it isn’t true, but it’s Cannon, so it probably is.
Also, according to Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, Golan asked a publicist of Clyde, “Would you fuck this monkey?”