Does the tagline “The skill of gymnastics… the KILL of KARATE!” grab you at all?
If it doesn’t, you’re probably dead inside.
As you know, I am not a fan of the “so-bad-they’re-good” genre of cultural production. In this one (really, there’s only one) case, I have made an exception. Gymkata is a film so bizarre, so amiable, so horrifically bad, so amusing that it must be seen to be believed.
The set-up is simple (and by simple, I mean “absurdly convoluted and completely beyond any understanding”). Kurt Thomas is some sort of gymnastics super-spy (actually, the son of a missing super-spy, who’s a gymnast, I think), who travels to a made-up country called Parmistan. In Parmistan, he has to participate in a sort of cross-country race. The winner of this annual race is granted any wish he chooses. Also, the race has a lot of killing.
ESPECIALLY in the Village of the Crazies. Which also has another name in the film, I think it’s possible two villages were conflated into one for running-time or cost reasons. Anyway, the Village of the Crazies is full of (you guessed it) Crazies, who are crazy. Luckily, when Thomas gets backed into a corner by a group of crazies, he discovers what is apparently the Official Public Pommel Horse of the City of the Crazy, and pommel-horses them all to death.
And that’s just the beginning. When my college roommate showed me this film, I almost couldn’t believe it was real. In fact, if I hadn’t seen it on Amazon.com, I would think the whole thing was some sort of fever dream.
From the director of “Enter the Dragon,” by the way.