Do you enjoy the deadly force of martial arts? Do you also enjoy the lithe body of an Olympian male gymnast? Then enter the mysterious world of Gymkata, which couples the skill of gymnastics with the kill of karate, if the tagline of the movie is to be believed…
Genre: Action/ Drama
Director: Robert Clouse
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It’s the 80s: Reagan’s Star Wars defence initiative is involved in a copyright infringement lawsuit with George Lucas and his legal team of Ewoks. Meanwhile, all eyes are on Parmistan, and not just to point and laugh because it sounds like a cheese. The small mountain nation is the perfect locale for a US satellite monitoring station, despite its miniscule size and the only accessible route involving a donkey trek and a bout of white water rafting.
A Special Intelligence Agency (SIA) operative entered the country to compete in ‘The Game’, which is a mandatory test of endurance for foreigners, combining gruelling feats of physical stamina, like running and climbing a god damn rope for Christ’s sake, with a struggle for survival, as players are chased down by a bunch of ninja wannabes.
After the SIA operative goes MIA, the US government, realising that shit just got real, decide to play hard ball. It’s time for the big guns. It’s time to call in the Marines. No? The Navy? The Army? Wrong, bitch! It’s time to call in Jonathan Cabot, Olympic gymnast and son of the missing operative, with absolutely diddly squat experience in espionage or combat, but golly gee whiz, he looks great sporting cheesy sweaters and a mullet.
So begins an intensive training montage, spanning a generous two months, during which Cabot learns to walk up a flight of stairs on his hands whilst his ball sack makes a break for freedom. A straight-talking, burly, black American teaches him the power of ass-kicking, whilst a mystical Asian man with a giant bird of prey affixed to his arm, teaches Cabot how to tie a blindfold.
Cabot’s third teacher is the mute Princess Rubali of Parmistan, whose turn-ons include treason, light bondage, jumping out of doorways with some of the tiniest knives known to man, and watching men perform a series of death defying aerial spins whilst reciting a 2-part dialogue for her pleasure. She eventually beds Jonathan and later on in the movie starts to speak, to the surprise of no one but the audience apparently.
Training complete, Cabot heads to Parmistan, making a quick stop at the town of Karabal to partake in car chase, with a car that is far too wide for the narrow streets, and hired goons with guns, who number amongst some of the most ineffective marksmen to ever appear on film.
With that out of the way, Cabot and the Princess Rubali enter Parmistan down a turbulent river and prepare for ‘The Game’. The King, making no mention of his daughter’s absence or treachery, shows Jonathan and his fellow competitors a high-tech, scaled model of the course. Should they survive, and return to the palace victorious, they will be granted one wish and it turns out that everyone is there for the same reason – the prime real estate.
The safety of the American people is in the hands of Cabot, who must risk being ridiculed in the execution of his fusion martial art: Gymkata. You’ll be on the edge of your seat watching Cabot traverse a joke of an obstacle course, with not one, but two sets of ropes and a Resident Evil 4 type village that acts as the local lunatic asylum, full of crazies and a conveniently placed pommel-horse for the biggest fight scene of the film, despite the inhabitants being armed with scythes and other long reaching weapons and Kurt Thomas (Cabot) having the shortest legs known to man.
Get ready to witness the birth of the ultimate fighting style, that doesn’t look at all ridiculous, in Gymkata.