Welcome to Nanarsday, IHActionO style! We are going to talk about a film I own and love and hate all at once for its just utter terribleness. It is a hard one to explain without just spoiling the whole thing, so forgive me if this review is a little too heavy on dem spoilers. But it is TOTALLY worth it.
Imagine it is 1980. Cold war is happening all over the place. People living in mild interest that Russia may do something. You are an incredible male gymnast, earning lots of world notice and guaranteed to be a huge Olympics star. You are the first gold medalist male from America on the floor dance thingy. There are two moves named for your skillz. Things are pretty sweet. But gosh darn it, Jimmy Carter boycotts the Olympics this year because they are in Moscow and war or something. Whatever, it doesn't matter, your career is over. 4 years is a LONG time to wait for another shot, and gymnastics is a young man's sport. Now you are stuck with nothing good to do, sitting on your hands. Until a dude decides to adapt an almost 30 years old book into a film, and they call you up to star, using your unique skills to kick the butts of a bunch of harmless non-Soviets for a big ole action movie.
That's Gymkata's birth.
Oh goodness, look at that poster! Gymnastics + Karate let's you kill ninjas in your adidas! You are moving so fast the entire world is replaced with blood, EVERYWHERE. This thing is glorious. Also, completely inaccurate to this film. Don't get me wrong, there is totally a whole bunch of "action" in it. But it is all gymnastic themed. Like ... hilariously gymnastic themed. The amount of random things around that just double as classic gymnastics stuff is hilarious. Some parallel bars are in this alley? Sure! Hey, this not-Soviet hamlet filled with crazy cannibals - all of which are played by actual locals from that real hamlet they filmed in, by the way - it has a pommel horse looking rocky outcropping with handlebars right next to the well!
There was not a single ounce of joke in what I said.
Hey, can you guess the worst thing about hiring an athlete instead of an actor to be the lead role in your film? Yeah, he totally cannot act. He sure does a lot of stunts, but they are all utterly ridiculous. This movie has the most random unnecessary flippy-doodles of any action movie that exists. Our hero will just backflip or corkscrew moonsault or triple-sow-cow or whatever you call those gymnastics moves all the time, just to do it. And yeah, he sure can do it, but it just doesn't make any sense! Why would you get on the pommel horse of convience, but instead of doing kicky-doos, just do a front flip off it, then kick some dudes, then use it again?! And that is ONE SCENE! Just one! There are so many amazing scenes.
The writing is terrible. The actors are across the board the worst. The action is nonsensical and hilarious. But what makes this movie so great is that they are doing it without a single ounce of irony. It's what makes nanar Nanar! Sincerity. Everyone involved were making the best movie they knew how, and that comes through! It is what makes me love these terrible terrible wonderful movies!
Now the question is, how can YOU see this movie? Bad news, it is currently not streaming anywhere. But it is super avaliable! Amazon is selling it dirt cheap, and it is completely worth it if you love wonderfully bad films! You can give it a rent, or get a digital version on most electronic thingies. And I do believe if you have the archaic Netflix that let's you get discs sent to you, it is TOTALLY rentable there. So find it! Watch it! Bring your friends together, and everyone will laugh.
Not convinced? Here, I'll spoil one more scene, because it makes me giggle every time. Love interest is refusing to talk to our protagonist. So he decides to woo her the best way he knows how: by doing flipping corkscrewing backflippies and playing both sides of the conversation. Like this:
Over and over. Lots of times. And she eventually smiles and finds it charming. And even MORE ridiculous stuff happens that scene! But I'm going to keep that for you guys to find on you own. You will enjoy this film, because it is earnest, un-ironic, and terrible, with hilarious action, hilariously bad acting, and just wonderfully bad dialogue.