5 Reasons 'Gymkata' Is The Funniest Movie of the 80s

#2. The Game

Before playing The Game, Cabot must trek to Parmistan, which gives the US government plenty of time to show how little they care about his mission. The equipment they issue him is so tragic you'd swear they only trust him with legs because he brought his own. And that's a shame, because Generic Middle Eastern Country #4 is in a really rough neighborhood:

"It's really a complicated political situation and there's no clea- ARROW! YEAGH!"

Eventually Cabot and his lady love arrive in Parmistan where we meet the hostile king, who is revealed to be Princess Rubali's father! And we also see that she's betrothed to the movie's main villain, Zamir! And it's Zamir who apparently killed Cabot's father! And probably also suffocated his puppy!

It's like the movie forgot they already established motivation for their hero (he's single-handedly saving the world by allowing the US to install their satellite base, remember?) and so are just throwing every possible scenario at the audience until one sticks: He's trying to win the girl, while simultaneously rescuing her from the evil villain AND her disapproving father, and also avenging the murder of his own father on his way to beat the obstacle course so he can save the world from the Russians. The only way Gymkata could contain more 80s stereotypes is if Cabot also had to win a dance competition to save the Parmistani rec center from evil developers ... on skateboards.

Eventually, The Game begins, and we soon realize that most of the other countries have sent Jeopardy contestants in track suits to participate in the death-course for the fate of the world.

The contestants are then briefed on the trials they'll face which, as we mentioned earlier, involves a deadly obstacle course - and the biggest of those "obstacles" is a lunatic asylum. Do they have to navigate it? Visit the patients inside so they don't get lonely? Burn it down for insurance money? Who knows? Obstacle=lunatic asylum is all we're told. It is also here that we see Parmistan's main resource, the ninja, being used to their full effect ... as construction materials. Ninja are used as signposts, as furniture, the race starts with two Ninja holding the rope, Flag Ninja are used to mark out the entire course of the game, and not to put too fine a point on it -- but all we're going to say is don't use the toilet in a Parmistani home unless you're comfortable insulting a pajama-clad man holding a bucket.

After all the buildup, the movie burns through the actual obstacle course section like the Human Torch with a packet of sparklers. It mostly consists of nameless mustachioed men dying from arrow wounds, while Zamir chases Cabot through a course not only full of but actually made of ninjas. How this scene manages to not be awesome despite that sentence is something neither science nor religion will ever be able to answer.

#1. The Finale!

The ultimate showdown in Gymkata is so stupid it got its own Cracked article. Cabot is trapped in the middle of the lunatic asylum (which is more of a pleasant little Lunatic Hamlet, actually) and surrounded on all sides. But this is the fight that Cabot's been preparing for his whole life, and considering that they've installed a pommel-horse as the primary feature in their town square, so have the villagers.

The mob is composed entirely of people who have three-meter long pole weapons, thus rendering them completely immune to gymnastery, and yet they opt instead to attack by running face-first into Thomas's feet, which are now a pajama-clad-blender rotating fast enough to deform space-time. It's the first binary error in the history of rampaging hordes. Seriously, you won't find this many unused poking weapons outside of a pickup artist convention -- they've got pole arms, farming tools, tridents and a couple of bizarre iron prodders we'd swear were intended for long-range medieval gynaecology.

But John Cabot shows them all that male gymnasts really can be badass ... just as long as you hire a contractor to build a pommel horse in the fight area, then give them some time to get their momentum going, then politely agree to walk into their spinning feet instead of standing back a few feet and throwing empty beer cans and homophobic slurs.

Gymkata then proceeds to shove what should've been the last hour of movie into three minutes of panicked catch-up. First, Cabot realizes his father is still alive! Then immediately watches him get killed by Zamir (again) before they can even finish introducing themselves. He hunts down the villain, and engages in thirty seconds of fight scene before breaking Zamir's neck between his strong, bendy legs. Then the population of Parmistan suddenly decides to throw off the yoke of oppression as casually as you'd buy a pack of gum.

"Hey, that guy did a flip! Did you see that? DEMOCRACY."

The bad guys are dead, the hero got the girl, and the people are free! And so it is that John Cabot guarantees the destruction of the human race.

Don't you remember? He's not recovering a chemical weapon or preventing a mad terrorist: He's allowing the US to install a nuclear-launch detection grid in the middle east. The only purpose of which is to guarantee complete Mutually Assured Destruction if the Ruskies launch against us. Cabot didn't prevent the nuclear holocaust; his mission was only to ensure there would be absolutely no survivors if it happened.


Luke's cinemasochism extends to the incomparable Dolemite, the unbelievable Resident Evil and much more.

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