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Gymkata (1985)

Gymkata (1985)

An American gymnast travels to a foreign country to compete in a deadly game not won by anyone other than a native in more than 900 years.

So that's what it was really about! Got it.

The plot's a mess. It feels more like a series of scenes from different places, mostly there to showcase Kurt Thomas athletic abilities than anything else, but it does have something else, too. Charm? Raw talent?

The fights and athletics might be its biggest merit (maybe this was actually the one that inspired the recent flipping trends in martial art movies), but it does have characters with charm, and a compelling albeit chaotic storyline that'll at least leave you entertained.

And hey, it has Michael Jai White! If but for a short moment. Uncredited...?

It also has Tetchie Agbayani and Richard Norton, and it's based on The Terrible Game by Dan Tyler Moore, 1957. Not that any of this necessarily makes it a better movie but maybe it's cool to know.

The Cuckoo's Nest was the definitely the most memorable part though. It stands out. That single scene builds up an atmosphere that leaves me in awe. Silent Hill and Resident Evil movie-franchising attempts should take note, and I wouldn't be surprised if it inspired the Resident Evil 4 reboot.

Ground-breaking more than good? Maybe! But it's one of those movies you'll have to see at some point in time... if these are the kinds of movies you like watching. Martial arts. Fighting. That kind of stuff. It's special. Not all especially good but: it's not your typical action movie at all.

B-movie or no, it's well worth a watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle


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