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112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Gymkata (DVD)

For Glory, For Nation, For Survival... LET THE GAME BEGIN! Gymnastics champion Kurt Thomas stars as Jonathan Cabot, an American who travels to a remote land to enter a lethal competition that no outsider has won in more than 900 years. Based on the novel The Terrible Game by Dan Tyler Moore


A camp classic and one-time staple of late-night cable, Gymkata stars former Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas as a master of Gymkata, a fighting style that blends elements of martial arts and--what else?--gymnastics. Sent to a fictional Middle Eastern country on the Caspian Sea called "Karabal, on the Caspian Sea," Jonathan Cabot (Thomas) must survive a high-stakes competition called the Game that had previously claimed the life of his father. But winning could mean shifting the balance of power in the cold war. (The movie was made in 1985, and Thomas missed out on the 1980 Olympics because of the U.S. boycott.) Fortunately, being a master of Gymkata means that as you run through the village streets with bad guys in hot pursuit, in between the buildings you'll find a conveniently placed high bar from which you can swing and unleash powerful villain-crunching kicks. Moments like that earn Gymkata a 9.5 on the unintentional-comedy scale. With Tetchie Agbayani as the love-interest princess, and Buck Kartalian as a fearsome villain who looks like Mel Brooks. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Kurt Thomas, Tetchie Agbayani, Richard Norton, Edward Bell, John Barrett
  • Directors: Robert Clouse
  • Writers: Charles Robert Carner
  • Producers: Fred Weintraub
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JP3R
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,231 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gymkata" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By M. Grant on January 9, 2007
Format: DVD
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!
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264 of 296 people found the following review helpful By Vic G. Sarjoo on June 11, 2005
Format: VHS Tape 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.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Eric Thomson on June 2, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
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?
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Matt Heller on May 31, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 9, 2010
Format: DVD
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.
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