“The skill of gymnastics. The kill of Karate.”
This month’s guest hecklers:
Stallone. Schwarzenegger. Norris. And… Thomas? In 1985, while action movies were reaching new levels of popularity, Olympic gold medal winner Kurt Thomas hit the screen as action’s first (and last) gymnast-slash-badass in Gymkata .
Thomas portrays Jonathan Cabot, who’s sent on a secret mission by the Secret Intelligence Agency to Parmistan, which is of course a fake country and absolutely not a delicious pizza topping. Parmistan plays host to a strange competition simply called “The Game”, where contestants must face a gauntlet of deadly obstacles. The last man standing not only gets to live, but is granted their ultimate wish. In this case, the SIA wants Cabot to wish a satellite monitoring station in place in the hopes of preventing nuclear war (because it’s 1985). Of course, upon arrival, Cabot’s companion Princess Rubali is kidnapped, and soon our acrobatic action star has to face a seemingly endless stream of ninja, terrorists and insane villagers with his powerfully absurd Gymkata fighting style.
Gymkata manages to make what could be a forgettable 80's action film incredibly awkward, as Kurt Thomas’ actually impressive gymnastics skills are shoehorned into nearly every possible moment. While training with the requisite Japanese master, he’s forced to climb stairs on his hands (because he can), giving us an uncomfortable view down his shorts (because he… can?). He flirts with the Princess by backflipping, and of course conveniently finds a horizontal bar or a pommel horse when cornered by enemies. You sort of have to hand it to this film – it’s literally the ONLY movie that ever attempted to make a world-class gymnast a martial arts star, and they squeezed every single second of entertainment possible out of the concept. It’s a horrible idea, sure – but Gymkata executes it with such oblivious abandon that you won’t mistake it for your average straight-to-VHS style 80's action flick!
This special screening is presented in HECKLEVISION: Through the magic of MuVChat technology, your jokes, heckles and commentary are encouraged – in TEXT form! Tap out your wittiest wisecracks with your phone and they’ll appear instantly on screen! Each month, special guests will hang out to crack jokes via text with you and a few hundred of your best friends!