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Bad Movies

Bad Movie of the Week: Gymkata

My friend Will is back in Biloxi! And that means the return of the Bad Movie of the Week.

What happens when you combine “The Skill of Gymnastics. The Kill of Karate”? Enter Kurt Thomas, a U.S. gymnast who won gold medals at the 1978 and 1979 World Gymnastics Championships and — naturally — decided to apply this skill to fight ninjas on film in:

Gymkata (1985)

0247-001-gymkata

Plot: Kurt Thomas digs deep into his acting skills to play Jonathan Cabot, a boyish champion U.S. gymnast. The U.S. “Special Intelligence Agency” wants to put a missile defense system in the central Asian kingdom of “Parmistan” and, naturally, contacts Cabot for help. Each year, Parmistan holds “The Game”, an athletic competition which any foreigner entering the country must play. The winner of the Game is spared his life and granted one wish, which the U.S. government is counting on to gain permission to build their missile defense system.

Read on for the final rating:

Best quote: How about Kurt Thomas trying to be intimidating: “Out of the way, Thorg.” Or the Parmistani capital city, repeatedly mentioned as “Karabal, on the Caspian Sea” — which, when finally shown, is subtitled “Karabal, on the Caspian Sea.” Or the informative message that appears on screen just before the credits, explaining documentary-style that “In 1985 The First Early Warning Earth Station Was Placed In Parmistan For The U.S. Star Wars Defense System” (oh good!).

Most implausible moment: Ok, so what self-respecting Central Asian kingdom isn’t strewn with discarded gymnastics equipment? I was willing to accept this premise for most of the movie. Parallel bars, for instance — those things could be found anywhere. Then Kurt Thomas found himself surrounded in the village square in the “town of the crazies”, only to fight the villagers off with an extensive routine on a conveniently placed pommel horse.

Final score: 1 (6 is worst) Keep in mind that there are not many “ones” in the Bad Movie pantheon — movies that transcend badness to achieve something more awesome. This review can’t entirely do justice to the ridiculousness that is Gymkata. For fuller mockery, complete with animated screenshots, check out I-Mockery’s review.

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