Gymkata is one of those movies that is so bad that you can’t stop watching it. You know right away that it sucks. And it just gets worse and worse until it reaches its sucky ending. At first you’re glad that it’s over. Then you get mad at yourself for wasting 90 minutes of your life. So you decide to recommend it to a friend so you can ruin their life too. I guess that’s what I’m doing with this article right now.
Olympic gymnast Jonathan Cabot (played by real life Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas) gets recruited by the Special Intelligence Agency for a special mission. The SIA wants Cabot to go to the fictional country of Parmistan to compete in the Game. The Game is a race through an obstacle course in which the contestants must compete against each other and the Parmistanian warriors. Whoever wins gets a wish granted by the Parmistan government. The SIA wants Cabot to win and ask to build a satellite monitoring station for the US. They also tell him that his missing father is really an SIA agent who disappeared trying to accomplish the same mission.
Cabot decides use his gymnast skills and join Team America. Then they have the obligatory training sequences and he also meets the beautiful Princess Rubali of Parmistan. He starts learning how to fight and combines the deadly art of Karate with the graceful homoeroticsm of men’s gymnastics to create his own style: Gymkata. He uses his Gymkata skills to get some smooches from the Princess.
Cabot goes to Parmistan to play the Game, and there’s a lot of fight scenes along the way. Bad fight scenes that show off his Gymkata skills. He flips around and makes sure that his toes are pointed when he kicks people.
In the midst of all the random fights, there’s some stupid subplot about a guy named Zamir who wants to take over Parmistan and marry the Princess. She doesn’t want to do that because her dad is the King, and she loves Cabot for some reason. Zamir runs the Game and that’s not good for Cabot.
The Game begins and eventually Cabot is the only player left. Just as he’s about to get killed by the creepy villagers he gets saved by a Parmistani warrior who turns about to be Cabot’s dad. The reunion is short-lived because Papa Cabot gets shot by an arrow.
Cabot and Zamir have their final showdown. Zamir is defeated. Cabot is the winner and gets himself a Princess girlfriend. And the SIA gets their wish and the film assures us that “In 1985 The First Early Warning Earth Station Was Built In Parmistan For The U.S. Star Wars Defense Program.” Seriously, that’s how the movie ends. It was propaganda the whole time, just a commercial for Reagan’s crazy dream to stop missiles with lasers fired from space stations.
This movie is terrible. The plot is terrible. The acting is terrible. Kurt Thomas looks like a young Jack Bauer with a mullet. But Kiefer Sutherland knows how to act and no one in Gymkata does. Kurt Thomas relies on gymnastics and exaggerated sound effects to knock down bad guys. At one point he fights dozens of angry villagers on a pommel horse. I’m still trying to figure out why the Parmistanis would have a pommel horse in their town square.
This movie sucks. Don’t take my word for it. Watch it for yourself. It’s terrible, but you might like it. It’s so bad it’s good. It’s like Showgirls but with no nudity and worse acting. This might not be the worst movie of all time, but it’s a candidate.
Critically Rated at 4/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young