The other night I was flipping channels very late and I came across Gymkata on one of the many movie channels. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s one of the most awesomely bad movies ever made. It stars Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas as a gymnast/karate master who travels to a vaguely Asian-looking country called Parmistan to fight in a tournament — to the death, of course — to discover what became of his father, who had fought in the same tournament years earlier. Oh, and to mysteriously pave the way for the placement of a missile defense system in that country.
During that tournament, the contestants have to travel through a walled city where Parmistan has been sending its criminally insane people for centuries, so it’s full of people who walk around like zombies and try to kill you with pitchforks and other beastly implements. My favorite scene in the movie is when Thomas is being chased by dozens of these horrible zombie loonies and suddenly stumbles upon a pommel horse — seriously, a pommel horse — in the town square. He shows his flawless Olympic form, scissor kicking all the bad guys as they, conveniently, attack him one at a time and manage never to hit any of his limbs with the razor sharp swords and knives they’re carrying. The best part is when he jumps down on the ground, runs to the pommel horse and does a perfect back flip back to the same spot he was standing on before making that move, for no apparent reason whatsoever. Here’s the video of that scene:
There are lots of bad movies that are essentially unwatchable — see almost anything starring a former SNL cast member not named Mike Myers, John Belushi or Dan Aykroyd (and then only if he’s with someone much funnier; when he tries to carry a movie, you end up with Dr. Detroit). But some movies are so terrible that they become entertaining in an entirely ironic way.
Another movie like that is The Last Dragon, another martial arts action movie that actually intends to be funny at times, but is much funnier when it’s trying not to be. It’s the story of a black karate master named Bruce Leroy, who has to fight the “shogun of Harlem” named Sho-Nuff. It’s breathtakingly bad, made even worse by the horrible music and the inevitable flashbacks to his sensei giving him sage advice. Here’s the climactic fight scene:
What movies would you nominate for the title of the most unintentionally funny movie?