“A new kind of martial arts combat! The skill of gymnastics. The kill of karate.”
You say you love men’s gymnastics AND kung fu? Well, welcome to bad movie nirvana with Gymkata, a bona-fide camp classic and goofy staple of ’80’s late-night cable TV. This masterpiece of high-kicking crud stars former Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas (member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Dream Team) as a master of Gymkata, a fighting style that blends elements of martial arts and–what else?–gymnastics.
Sent to a fictional Middle Eastern country on the Caspian Sea called “Karabal, on the Caspian Sea,” Jonathan Cabot (Thomas) must survive a bloody high-stakes competition called The Game that had previously claimed the life of his father. But, as luck would have it, winning could mean shifting the balance of power in the Cold War! Fortunately, being a master of Gymkata means that as you run through the village streets with bad guys in hot pursuit, in between the buildings you’ll find a conveniently placed high bar from which you can swing and unleash powerful nut-crunching kicks. Moments like this, as well as some ill-fated attempts to turn the elfin Thomas into a pint-sized, mullet-maned heartthrob via a ridiculous romantic subplot with an exotic princess, earn Gymkata a solid 9.5 on the unintentional-comedy scale. Also sporting a fearsome villain who looks suspiciously like Mel Brooks and a town full of gibbering lunatics who would not seem out of place in a Monty Python sketch, this is one Olympic-fueled flick that really goes for the gold!