United States - 1985
Director - Robert Clouse
MGM/UA Home Video, 1985, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 30 min.
This film is well known amongst martial arts fans as one of the most laughably inane American attempts to dip into the pool of Eastern mystique. Ninjers and a white guy on the cover and you've got a winner. Whomever came up with the idea that a second rate gymnast from the American Heartland could be sold as a ninja secret agent in Eastern Europe needs to give me a call, I have a bridge to sell 'em.
As awesome as that premise sounds right before each and every time I watch Gymkata, nothing beats its sincerity of execution. Sheer rapturous optimism infuses every moment and lends a sortof ethereal Valhalaesque quality to the subsequent, whatever it is. It was the 80's and anything was possible if you believed it hard enough. As long as it feels, reeks and literally sweats genuine commitment, it will end up a good movie. (See also anything by Sho Kosugi)
If only I could believe that municipal stone monuments were equipped with standard pommel horse handles. But to name all the ridiculousity would tarnish Gymkata's veneer of, well, mystique. Thakfully, Gymkata came out on DVD a couple years back and can still be found.