* * *1\2
Directed by: Robert Clouse
Starring: Kurt Thomas, Richard Norton, Tetchie Agbayani, Buck Kartalian, Conan Lee, and John Barrett
More like GEMkata! Here’s an excellent example of something that only
could have happened in the 80’s - further proof that the 80’s rule!
the U.S. government singles out the tiny European country of Parmistan
for a secret site needed for the nuclear secrets of the Star Wars
program, they think all will go smoothly. Instead, the throwbacks of
this country have a yearly Most Dangerous Game-like game
called...well...The Game. The Feds need someone who can infiltrate the
country and not just set up the Nuke sites, but actually WIN The Game as
well. So naturally they pick the only man on earth suited for the job:
an Olympic gymnast named Jonathan Cabot (Thomas)!
Adding to his
Olympic skills, he is trained in the fighting arts by a number of
trainers. But it’s going to take all his skill and cunning to beat
the sinister Zamir (Norton), the leader of The Game and a ruthless
assassin. Jonathan also must protect The Princess Rubali (Agbayani of Norton vehicle Deathfight fame) from Zamir, who is going to
marry her in a royal ceremony without her permission. It’s all
spearheaded by The Khan of Parmistan (isn’t that a kind of cheese?) (the
great Buck Kartalian). Can Jonathan Cabot flip, flop and fly to
It’s pretty easy math to do: Gymnastics + Karate =
GYMKATA! (Presumably the writers felt “gymkarate” didn’t leave much to
the imagination). It’s such a great idea. We’re happy it was actually
made. What’s hilarious about this newfangled fighting style, and the way
Kurt Thomas executes it, is that there are so many unnecessary moves.
Never mind the fact that there is Olympic gymnastics equipment in the
middle of nowhere that just appears. Sure, Kurt Thomas doesn’t have much
of a personality, but he’s not annoying, and
his sweaters and mullet are cool.
Richard Norton, a Comeuppance
Reviews hero, is great as the bearded, rat-tailed Zamir (who we think
might be a master of the pan flute). Not only is the overall concept of
the movie imaginative and different, it had the power of Warner Brothers
behind it, so it actually had something of a budget and distribution.
Just check out the bombastic, awesome score by Alfi Kabiljo. His booming
music helps sell the Gymkata concept and paste over some of the dodgier
aspects of the plot and acting. We’re glad director Robert Clouse felt
the greatness of Gymkata needed a worthy score. Speaking of Clouse, he
was probably trying to do with Kurt Thomas what he “did” with Bruce Lee.
Do you think it worked?
And we got this far without even
mentioning the infamous “Town Of the Crazies”! We spend a lot of time
there as viewers, so be ready. It comes complete with what every town
should have, a pommel horse in the
town square. Will it be used? Also watch out for Punchfighting legend
John Barrett as a competitor, and Conan Lee of Armed Response (1986) fame. Not
to mention the funny ninjas (the movie was shot in Yugoslavia, so we can
only assume they are Yugo-Ninjas, perhaps a cinematic first).
an excellent, inexpensive DVD from WB out there that contains the
excellent trailer. You must own it. There’s no excuse for not seeing
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty