The Gymkata Test

What’s your Gymkata Test?

Gymkata, for those who don’t know, is a 1985 Action movie starring Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas as Jonathan Cabot, an Olympic gymnast recruited by the US government to compete in a deadly survival game in the mountainous insular country of Parmistan. Those who win this ancient game, which is a kind of endurance foot race during which competitors must overcome various physical obstacles and navigate a walled village where Parmistan deposits its criminally insane, are allowed one request of the ruling Khan, which he cannot deny. The guvmint wants the Khan’s permission to install a satellite monitoring station. On a more personal level, Jonathan is out to learn what became of one of the Game’s previous competitors, his missing father. To prepare him for the ordeal, he is trained to integrate his natural agility and gymnastic techniques with the martial arts, and thus, as the narrator says in the trailer, “combine the discipline, the timing, and the power of gymnastics with the explosive force of karate, and a new, all-powerful martial art is born – GYMKATA.”

Now, what is the Gymkata Test?

Gymkata is my least favorite movie. By that I mean, if I were to make a list of my 100 favorite movies, Gymkata would be at the bottom. It’s goofy and it’s unrealistic and some of the acting is not so great and I love it. I can hum the score. I own it, and have watched it multiple times.

All I ask of any movie I see is that it be as least as entertaining and rewatchable as Gymkata. It’s surprising (mostly to other people) how many movies tend to fall short of this simple, modest measuring stick.

I recognize that this is not a good movie, but it’s entertaining to me…and there is nothing in all of cinema like the Village of The Crazies sequence, which culminates in Kurt Thomas fending off an entire village of knife wielding lunatics whirling around on the back of a cleverly (?) disguised pommel horse. Gymkata is my comfort food.

I wore the hell out of this shirt until it disintegrated.

Combine the reliability, entertainment factor, and the utter uniqueness of this movie, and a new, all-powerful method of judging cinema is born….The Gymkata Test.

So I ask you, what is your Gymkata Test? What is your least favorite movie, the one you can reach for and unabashedly embrace over a movie like say, The English Patient, a distinguished, prestige motion picture laden down with awards and critical accolades, or even a massively popular bit of entertainment that just doesn’t do it for ya personally?

Published in: on June 2, 2022 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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