"There are many sounds around us, each is slightly different. So small as to go un-noticed by the person who is unaware. Do not hear the wood split. Hear the only sound of axe, cutting air. Read the air itself. It has much say to you."    - trainer

release year: 1985
genre: martial arts/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/29/13 and 1/30/10

synopsis: In the interests of national security (and to avenge his father) a young gymnast trains in the martial arts and then goes to a tiny European country to take part in a brutal competition.

impressions: Many people rank this as one of the worst movies ever made, and that may be true, but at least it's entertaining. My brothers and I noticed that literally not a minute went by without some sort of fight or action. That is rare, in the 80s and today, and this movie must be commended for it. Among other things, it has: a young and naive protagonist, a missing father who must be avenged, a sneering jerk tough-guy villain, an idiotic king, the king's hot daughter who can also fight, ninja warriors, one hell of an obstacle course, various competitors who may or may not be bad guys, and a town full of crazy people. It sounds corny - heck, it IS corny - but it's also an essential part of 1980s martial arts cheese (and thus my childhood) and so it had to be watched.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Naked insane people with pitchforks.

number of asses kicked in the "village of the crazies pommel horse" scene at 1:13    : 53

acting: Kurt Thomas (who competed in the Olympics prior to this movie) is the young hero, who is often aloof but diligently accepts his role as American martial-arts-gymnast spy. Richard Norton is Samir, the smug, ruthless evi henchman who really just wants to kill everyone and marry the princess. Tetchie Agbayani is the princess Rubali, who's hot and who can fight quite effectively; she may also be some sort of spy too.

other, more humorous reviews of Gymkata: review #1 and a whole bunch more!

final word: Cheesy but entertaining 1980s martial arts action.

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