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Gymkata [DVD] [1985] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Kurt Thomas , Tetchie Agbayani , Robert Clouse    DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 2.79
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Product details

  • Actors: Kurt Thomas, Tetchie Agbayani, Richard Norton, Edward Bell, John Barrett
  • Directors: Robert Clouse
  • Writers: Charles Robert Carner, Dan Tyler Moore
  • Producers: Fred Weintraub, Rebecca Poole
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jan 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JP3R
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,308 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A excellent Martial arts film 7 Dec 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a old classic martial arts film from the mid 80S well worth a watch, even after all these years
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1.0 out of 5 stars Death becomes you..... 1 Feb 2014
Seeing as this movie was released around the same time as American ninja and the ninja was a big thing at this point in cinema life (much like zombies now), I thought Gymkata maybe some random, throwaway movie that would pass ninety minutes easily.

It starts of quite good, like some Hard Target style film. There are some ninjas standing around not doing much, and Richard Norton has a lovely mullet, and that's about as good as the film gets.

Yes, the main guy may be a fantastic gymnast, but he cannot act, and some of his line deliveries are laughable, on the verge of parody.

Whatever the film was about, I really lost interest after the scene where he kept doing back flips to impress some pseudo princess who has to marry Richard Norton.

The fight scenes are lethargic, which is odd considering it's integrated with gymnastics, and at one point, there is a village and everyone appears to be literally mental.

Dull, and not even worth it for the camp, eighties factor.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars one for the cheesy shelf 14 Dec 2012
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
i brought this a couple of months ago on videeo after it being constantly in my brain since the eighties as a kid
so i had to relive those memories and get this, omg what a was i thinking back then...i suppose it was the fact that
ninja/martial arts movies was the rage back then, but of course there was also the big cheese factor of a gymnast/ninja film
that at the time appealed to me back in the is laughable in all aspects and you have to be a real fan like me to enjoy it for what it is a 80's ninja b movie with hardly any ninja in it really, the ironic thing is there is even worse out there than this 3***.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  74 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT DON'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS! 9 Jan 2007
By M. Grant - Published on
YAKMALA! And with that one echoing word we're off and running through the streets of crazy town (complete with the palma horse at it's center) in the non-stop action fest that is Gymkata!

This film has it all...




Boat chases!

Pre-chalked surfaces for our hero to spin around on!

Bad acting!

A dead pig!

A cackling old lady!



A subtle plotline about the development and installation of an important American satellite (that is so subtle it needs to be addressed in a caption at the closing seconds of the movie)!


Death sports!


The answer to the age old question: What if a world class gymnast was also skilled in the ancient fighting arts?!

80's hair!

I could just go on-and-on but why bother! Why aren't you watching this movie by now? IT'S ON DVD FOR GOD'S SAKE!
246 of 276 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Carefuly Scripted & Subtle Cold War Commentary 12 Jun 2005
By Vic G. Sarjoo - Published on
Verified Purchase
Extremely reminiscent of cold war sleepers like "Gorky Park" and "Reds", Gymkata is one of the most carefully scripted and brooding commentaries on American foreign policy during the Reagan years. The film is more like a documentary than a work of fiction in its deep attention to historical accuracies and avoidance of hyperbole.

Robert Clouse's directorial adaption of Dan Tyler Moore's Pulitzer-shortlisted novel manages to capture timbre of the times and the voice of the decade in a script of intricate complexity. Kurt Thomas's portrayal of the hero across from Tetchie Agbayani's heroine is one of the most dynamic and surprising chemistries since Bogart and Bergman's 43 years before.

However, where "Casablanca" fell far short of documenting the spirit (and fears) of the times on a granular level, Gymkata and its cast is unafraid to take this plunge.

In characterizations deeply respectful, and yet photo-accurate, regarding world cultures and global motifs, Gymkata manages spell the poly-sided views of complex conflicts that occurred during the final grey gasps of the Cold War.

Amazingly Gymkata manages a foreshadowing the rise of the Neo-Cons some 20 years later in its depictions of the United States use of aggression in strategically important hotspot regions -- and as well -- the film is able to show that the nationalistic concerns of the competing sovreignties (both ally & foe) remain unchanged despite which decade these events play themselves out in.

A timeless film, Gymkata should be a core film study in every graduate level political science class.
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Crud 3 Jun 2004
By Eric Thomson - Published on
When I was growing up, it seemed like every other movie on cable television was either called Iron Eagle or Gymkata. I had no use for Iron Eagle. Sorry. Gymkata, however, was a altogether different story. I must have seen this movie a few hundred times between grades 10-12--generally at three in the morning, stumbling in, stumbling out--less of a choice, more of a compromise. As if the pay channels didn't milk the Gymkata cash cow dry, local stations decided to make it their duty to keep it in heavy rotation on a weekly basis. The only movie that came close in its domination of b-string broadcasting was the 1972 classic, Gargoyles. But I digress. Gymkata is about a martial artist (Kurt Thomas) who loses his military papa (Eric Lawson). He goes to a small fictional nation that encompasses every clich? relating to villains from the 1980's. There's intrigue, a great feast, and more intrigue. There's an exotic princess who, to this day, still looks pretty good. The best part of the movie is the game of death--mostly because there isn't a great deal of dialog. As other reviews have mentioned, the asylum/village has some classic moments (the cackling woman comes to mind). Long story short, an olympic wannabe offers up a textbook example of why his acting career went nowhere. Of course, who am I to judge? I have yet to make a single movie about ninjas or good cops gone bad.
One last question: Why isn't this movie on DVD?
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unintentionally hysterical 31 May 2004
By Matt Heller - Published on
Kurt Thomas as a gymnast turned lethal martial artist? Only in Hollywood! The idea only works if every time Thomas gets into a fight there just happens to be a piece of gymnastic equipment nearby (parallel bars, pommel horse, etc.) and of course the bad guys attack one at a time, but I guess that's just a martial arts movie tradition. The acting is brutal, the plot could've been thought up by a ten year-old, and there's a village of insane killers. Put it all together and it all adds up to a hilarious movie.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Calling "Gymkata" Bad Is An Insult To The Forces Of Evil 9 April 2010
By Robert I. Hedges - Published on
Rating "Gymkata" is an exercise in futility. I ended up with three stars, all for unintentional hilarity. The concept of making world champion gymnast Kurt Thomas (as Jonathan Cabot) train in a totally new style of martial art combining traditional fighting techniques with gymnastics, then sending him on a secret mission to "Parmistan" to secure a base for a US "Star Wars" operation makes the mind reel. Needless to say the movie is wildly unsuccessful as a serious action film, but is rife with comedic moments.

Thomas' acting is more wooden than any of the oaks, beeches, or larches he spends the better part of the movie running through, not than even an accomplished thespian could make much of this mess. You know you're in for a rough ride when the film starts with clips of a gymnastic routine intercut with a stampede of Mongols riding horses. We then get the backstory about the whole Star Wars base in Parmistan. Since the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI,) commonly referred to as "Star Wars" in the press, used satellites, how is it they need this one forsaken strip of land in the Hindu Kush? Explain, please. Anyway, suspending disbelief just a bit more, he trains for two months by chopping wood and walking up stairs on his hands so he can compete in "The Game" which has not been won by a non-Parmistanian in 900 years. It's a savage game and involves spears, ropes, impalings, etc. But Jonathan has no issues competing as his father had previously disappeared in Parmistan playing the Game. Understand that the winner of the game gets to live, and the Parmistan government grants the winner one wish, which Thomas will use to get the Star Wars base. Of course governments in that part of the world are just known for being reputable, honorable, and keeping their word, so I can't see any problems with this premise in the least.

Jonathan, of course, falls in love with Princess Rubali (Tetchie Agbayani), who is to be wed to the evil Zamir (Richard Norton), because the idiot King (Buck Kartalian) trusts him, despite the obvious facts that Zamir is effectively running the country for his own nefarious purposes. Ironically, "Gymkata" was filmed in Yugoslavia before a very real civil war tore it apart just a couple of years later. How's that for foreshadowing? To help him blend into the crowd of gray-clad Eastern Europeans, Thomas elects to play the Game in a bright red shirt. His plan is certainly cunning. The Game itself is a procession of ugly people doing ugly things to other ugly people, and features such poignant vignettes as some sort of monk in a buttock-baring hospital robe attempting to distract him to death, the worst pig feeding scene (with accompanying ridiculous escape) in movie history, and, my personal favorite scene in the film, when he beats up an entire village using a pommel horse thoughtfully placed in the middle of the village square for the use of death-gymnasts. This must be seen to be believed.

Much of the chase is in slow motion (as if the movie needed to drag on longer,) but when it wraps up it concludes very quickly with the stunning revelation that Jonathan's Dad is still alive, although within about two minutes of Jonathan's arrival his Dad gets shot in the back, which results in the ultimate one on one gymkata vengeance round, while simultaneously the King and Princess (in a lovely all black catsuit) start a revolution (or anti-revolution, if you like) to take control back from Zamir. Obviously Jonathan wins the Princess' heart and a title card tells us that the US built its Star Wars station in Parmistan in 1985.

This movie is utterly relentless in its badness. The concept, casting, direction, and acting are universally terrible. Thomas is completely unviable as an actor, and the film fails on any serious level. It does wildly succeed as an example of anti-art, and is worth examination by lovers of cheesy movies everywhere (it would have made an excellent episode of MST3K.) The only good thing about the film is the excellent and wholly suitable Yugoslav location, which was a great (and low cost) touch.

Extras are slim; I would have loved to hear a commentary track from Thomas and noted martial arts director Robert Clouse. Instead all that's offered is a theatrical trailer for the film and a bonus (and extremely incongruous) trailer for "The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning" starring Willie Nelson, which looks, if anything, even worse than "Gymkata," which may be the precise reason it's featured as an extra here. It's a futile attempt to make "Gymkata" look better by comparison, but at this point there's really nothing to do but grasp at straws.
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