Gymkata

"Terrible"

Gymkata Review


I've seen Gymkata three times. That's not a boast. The first time I caught it was on videotape in the late '80s. The second and third times it was on some late night cable station and I was either too sleep-deprived or inebriated to turn it off. I know it's cliché, but the whole car wreck analogy fits almost too well. When Gymkata is on, I just can't turn away. And I'm not alone - - the net is littered with sad accounts of similarly affected individuals.

Jonathan Cabot (Kurt Thomas) is a U.S. gymnast sent to the backwater country of Parmistan to participate -- and hopefully win -- The Game, a dangerous, obstacle-laden decathlon. Why? Because the U.S. government needs to set up a "Early Warning Earth Station for the Star Wars program" and sending in troops to do it is "out of style." Indeed. Thing is no one has survived The Game in 900 years. There's a reason for that, too. As if the course weren't hard enough, contestants must maneuver through numerous ninjas, crazies, and Parmistani thugs that try and stop them.

A cheap plot description can't do justice to the inanity on display here. Perhaps descriptions of a few choice sequences will: the film's crowning triumph is the Village of Crazies, an entire hovel populated only with cannibal psychopaths and screaming schizos who try and claw our hero from the sky as he swings and vaults through the decaying town. What, that's not crazy enough? How about the fact that there just happens to be a convenient pommel horse in the center of the town?!? Still not doing it? How about clumsy ninjas wearing fur vests? Or a guy named Thorg with a red headband and silver He-Man arm braces? Honestly, I could go on and on.

So how does Kurt Thomas stack up against other athletes-cum-action stars like Brain Bosworth? He doesn't. This short, mulleted gymnast is surely the most ridiculous action hero ever to grace the silver screen. Brain Boitano would be more believable taking down an army of ninjas. But singling out Thomas is actually a bit unfair. Everyone in Gymkata is terrible. Buck Kartalian, playing the Kahn with a bushy moustache and channeling Mel Brooks, is so over the top his scenes are laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Gymkata is from Robert Clouse, director of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon. Sure, Enter the Dragon was a classic or, as the ads put it, "the first American-produced martial arts spectacular." But sadly for Clouse he never reached those heights again. He's joined here by screenwriter Charles Robert Craner who penned the equally idiotic Let's Get Harry and producer Fred Weintraub who was behind several wretched Cynthia Rothrock (yet another athlete turned action star) films with Clouse. The mind boggles!



Gymkata

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd May 1985

Box Office Worldwide: $5.7M

Budget: $8.5M

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 4.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Robert Clouse

Producer:

Starring: Kurt Thomas as Jonathan Cabot, Tetchie Agbayani as Princess Rubali, Richard Norton as Zamir, Edward Bell as Paley, John Barrett as Gomez, Conan Lee as Hao, Bob Schott as Thorg, Buck Kartalian as The Kahn, Eric Lawson as Colonel Cabot, Sonny Barnes as Western Trainer, Tadashi Yamashita as Eastern Trainer, Sharan Lea as Connie, Zlatko Pokupec as Mackle (as Z. Pokupec), Ivo Kristof as Brockschmidt (as I. Kristof), as Tamerlane (as S. Dimitrijevic)

Also starring:

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