`Sooo, a while back me and several of my friends helped fund a kickstarter for Dad’s Garage, a local theater/improv comedy group. Our gift for our charity was to have a movie of our choice receive an MST3K treatment. So of course, the idea was to rip one of the many campy movies I own. So the question was posted as to which of my movies should be chosen. When someone chose this movie, I didn’t think much of it, but then a second person suggested it and I thought that we might have a problem because I did not actually own that movie. So on the off chance that this movie was selected, I picked up a copy for cheap and that is how I came to own Gymkata.
The plot: Gymnast Jonathan Cabot is asked by the Special Intelligence Agency to go to the country of Parmistan and participate in “The Game”, a dangerous, obstacle filled race. The prize for winning The Game, aside from the winner’s life, is one wish to be filled by Parmistan’s ruler, which the SIA want to use to build a satellite monitoring station in Parmistan. In order to prepare him for the competition, the SIA use two martial arts masters to train him before flying Cabot and the princess of Parmistan, Rubali, to the city of Karabal. In Karabal, Cabot is attacked by some thugs and Rubali is kidnapped and taken to their base. Cabot breaks into the base and rescues Rubali but has to be rescued by the SIA when his handler in Karabal turns out to be a traitor. Cabot and Rubali use a raft to get into Parmistan but they are met by some Parmistan warriors who, after a brief fight, knock out Cabot and take both him and Rubali to the palace. At the palace, Cabot is introduced to the the other participants in The Game as well as Zamir, the king’s right hand man. Aside from managing The Game, Zamir has bigger plans that involve overthrowing the king and marrying Rubali. The next day, The Game begins and aside from all the other danger of The Game that Cabot must contend with, he must also worry about Zamir, who broke the rules of The Game and is trying his best to kill Cabot. Cabot manages to make it through most of the dangers and finally arrives at a village full of the criminally insane, but before the lunatics can kill him, he is rescued by one of Zamir’s soldiers that turns out to be his dad, a former participant of The Game that was believed dead. Eventually Cabot is forced to face Zamir and manages to kill him. Back at the capital, Rubali manages to convince her father of Zamir’s plans and the two kill the guards inside the palace and head outside where the king orders his citizens to seize Zamir’s men. Suddenly someone shouts that someone is approaching the finish line and everyone rushes over to see Cabot, along with his wounded father, make it into the city.
Ok, this is on so many different “worst movie of all time” lists, and deservedly so. This is incredibly bad but it does kind of meet that “so bad it’s good” category. The plot was based on a book so that part was actually interesting. Kurt Thomas, the male lead, is an Olympic gymnast so the fight scenes with him were pretty decent but his acting was so stiff and wooden that it could have been done better with a puppet. Some of the fight scenes were definitely on the ridiculous side due to the “convenient” props available for him to use, such as a sawhorse and a high bar. I think the sawhorse in the middle of the insane village was what did this movie in for me. A bad movie but you might, and I stress the word “might”, find it entertaining.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5