Movie of the Day – Gymkata
September 21, 2012 4 Comments
This is a classic. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different about this movie. Take it from a guy who clearly has seen too many movies in his lifetime, Gymkata is one of the finest martial art movies to have graced the screen in a long time. A vehicle for gymnast Kurt Thomas, Gymkata is the deadly showcase of gymnastics inspired martial arts, which you can see displayed in such an awesome manner in the trailer. It’s a movie that cult classic and terrible movie lovers have to see if they haven’t and if they did see it, then they know true peace and balance in their life. Let’s vault over this shit pommel horse and check out the deadliest movie ever, Gymkata!
In a standard no-plotter, this is a martial arts showcase for gymnast Kurt Thomas as Jonathan Cabot, the front line man sent out to secure a military foothold in an unfriendly, unnamed country in Eastern Europe near the Caspian sea. Jonathan has to use his lethal weapons (hands and feet) and his ingenuity to chop down legions of adversaries, especially in a one-against-all scene in a rustic village. With scenic Yugoslav landscapes and the attractive Miss Philippines (Tetchie Agbayani) as Princess Rubali, the film offers some visual appeal as well as whirling martial arts choreography. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
Words escape my grasp to try and even come close to explaining the immense insanity that overtakes this movie. First, the martial arts in this movie is terrible. I mean atrocious. I am certain that 6 year old beginners could take on Jonathan Cabot in a straight fight. The moves in this movie consist in him flipping around and split kicking like he’s Van Damme. The man is only deadly when there just happens to be bars for him to do a routine on. Half the time, he is just throwing himself on enemies who could just happen to have a knife on them and holding it daintily in their hands to kill this super soldier or whatever. Every action sequence is just sad to look at, but funny as hell.
Second, this movie is just terrible. The plot is something that was scribbled on the back of a cocaine bag that some executive just used while pitching other terrible movie ideas. Who in their right mind thought that mixing two disciplines would somehow trigger a wave of Hollywood movies that would want to use this dumb looking fighting style. but that terribleness is the charm of the movie and the reason that I look so fondly on this movie. Gymkata looked like it was filmed for about 500 bucks, with the cheesiest dialogue and horrible fight scenes, save for one glorious moment of redemption, and it looks terrible. The movie was filmed in Yugoslavia, which I think they made look even more like a hell hole and the ninjas could be defeated by the kids from Three Ninjas and the competition in which Thomas has to compete in is a low rent Battle Royale.
But all of this is made up for by one of the single greatest scenes in movie history. This tops any other scene in any other movie ever conceived in the industry, because this pretty much tells the audience about their feelings on this movie.
This 9 minute sequence happens as a final test in “The Game” where the hero must make it through the Village of Crazies (stunning name I guess) and what ensues is utter madness. This is what makes the deadly art of Gymkata deadly, when the hero happens to stumble onto a village of gymnastic enthusiasts that decked out their town with gym equipment for him to use. This town must be crazy indeed if they built a city with such convenient tools for the hero to use. But to sell the craziness of the village they have random citizens just chopping their own arms off and sharpening tool which they don’t even use to kill the guy.
Their biggest mistake though, is building a fucking pommel horse in the middle of their in which Cabot is able to dispatch them in a nice circular floor routine motion with the skills of a gymnast and the deadliness of a martial artists.
That folks is the prime reason that this is one of the greatest, terrible marital art movies ever. It doesn’t get better than a conveniently places pommel horse in the middle of this decrepit village. Also the fucking thing is stone, meaning it was planned to be there by the villagers. What the fuck.