Awfully Good!

"Awfully Good" is a weekly column that appears regularly on our sister site The DVD Clinic celebrating the best worst movies. It's so awesome we thought we'd give you a taste here on JoBlo.com.

It’s the skill of gymnastics, the kill of karate...and the utter fail of both combined!

Gymkata (1985)

Director: Robert Clouse
Stars: Kurt Thomas, Tetchie Agbayani, Richard Norton

Is there a plot?

American gymnastics star Jonathan Cabot is sent by the U.S. government to Parmistan (which is a dangerous pan-Asian country, not a delicious pasta dish). There he is supposed to infiltrate and win their annual “game”—a combination outdoor obstacle course and human hunting party. Out of his element, it will take all of Cabot’s twirling and jumping skills to stay alive.

What's the damage?

What makes GYMKATA great is that there’s absolutely no reason for gymnastics to be in this movie. Every fight scene could’ve been played straight and done with traditional martial arts, and it would be much less unintentionally hilarious. Instead, GYMKATA smacks of the producers trying to create something cool and new…and failing hard.

You know what’s more deadly than a ninja? A ninja with a trained attack falcon. Soil yourself.

For one, gymnastics bring nothing to the table, except the ability to momentarily confuse your opponent. (Then while you’re busy doing cartwheels, he’ll just punch you in your exposed groin.) Secondly, if there weren’t any random poles or gym equipment lying around, you would be absolutely worthless as a fighter. I mean, when in real life are you going to encounter an Olympic-quality pommel horse in the middle of a small Eastern European village? Aside from this movie of course.

Phil really sucked at hide-and-go-seek.

The filmmakers desperately try to make star Kurt Thomas look cool. But you can never be cool wearing a leotard or doing cartwheels. Even with such a serious mullet. Being a gymnast may take some skill and flexibility, but you do not rock like a true ninja. It’s just a scientific impossibility. I’m sorry, Kurt.

“Hey, I didn’t know you were Jewish!”

Aside from all the gymnastics-fueled hilarity, GYMKATA doesn’t have much to offer that you wouldn't find in any other bad 80s action movie. The “deadly” game is dumb and unexciting, and takes up a big chunk of the film. The powers-that-be also hired the best actors Yugoslavia had to offer, and the result is some of the worst dubbing ever seen outside of Asia.

A shot from the urban remake of RED DAWN.

"Best" Line

Listen to Kurt Thomas’ completely heartless apology after he accidentally kicks an innocent bystander in the face.

BONUS: Watch this old man (or lady?) do his/her best crow impression.

"Best" Parts

1) Here we get our first taste of the power of Gymkata. Notice how the bad guy literally falls to the ground out of fear/confusion when Kurt Thomas begins jumping around like a crazy person. Also, listen for the awful punching sound effects.

2) Count the number of kicks Thomas does in this clip. That’s the number of seconds you have to drink afterwards. Say “bye-bye,” liver.

3) This trainer is a little too happy to see his student succeed.

Nudity Watch

What’s the technical term for the male equivalent of camel toe? Because there’s a lot of that in this movie.

Enjoyableness Continuum:

Get unnaturally limber! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • There’s inadvertent male nudity or a crotch shot
  • The wrong sound effect is used
  • They cut to an ugly extra
  • Somebody falls or is thrown off a cliff
  • There’s sexual innuendo or double entendre
  • Someone says the word “Thorg”

Double shot/ Finish your drink whenever:

  • Slow motion goes on for too long

And thanks to Bryan, Seth, Chris S., and Paul for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: DVD Clinic



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