Posts Tagged ‘Robert Clouse’


Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

MAY 3, 1985

GYMKATA is another Summer of 1985 release with a Cold War context. On screen, it involves a mission with the ultimate goal of installing an American satellite monitoring station. Behind the scenes, it stars a gymnast who was favored to win gold at the Olympics in Moscow until the U.S. team boycotted.

I reviewed GYMKATA for The Ain’t It Cool News in 2007 when it first came out on DVD, so you can read that for more details. I have some pretty good lines in there, for example

“this movie and Osama bin Laden are both unintended consequences of [the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan]. And I can say objectively that the better of the two is GYMKATA. GYMKATA is better than Osama bin Laden.”

But it’s a pretty damn 1985 movie so I decided to revisit it for this series. It stars Kurt Thomas, five-time NCAA champion and International Gymnastics Hall of Famer who won six medals at the 1979 World Championship before the aforementioned protest of the 1980 Summer Games. He plays Jonathan Cabot, also a gymnast of some kind. We see him on the parallel bars, and then all the sudden some suit from the Special Intelligence Agency is briefing him for a top secret mission to the secluded country of Parmistan. His dad (Eric Lawson, who played a sheriff in TALL TALE, RUMPELSTILTSKIN, WHEN TIME EXPIRES and KING COBRA) was an agent who disappeared there competing in “The Game,” a thing they apparently do frequently where foreigners try to run an obstacle course while locals on horses with helmets over ninja masks shoot arrows at them. If somebody actually survived the country would offer them any favor they want. Help you move, give you notes on your screenplay, anything. (read the rest of this shit…)

China O’Brien II

Friday, May 18th, 2012

tn_chinaobrieniiIt’s the 4th of July, and Sheriff O’Brien is receiving a plaque from the mayor for lowering the crime rate in Beaver Creek to one of the lowest in the state. Well, enjoy it while it lasts, mayor, because a couple at this very picnic are about to be tracked down by a team of ex-military drug smugglers who want their suitcase full of $5 million in cash.
(read the rest of this shit…)

China O’Brien

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

tn_chinaobrienAfter directing movies to showcase the martial arts skills of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jim Kelly, and the guy from GYMKATA, director Robert Clouse figured “why not the white lady from YES MADAM?” That’s five time World Karate Champion in forms and weapons between 1981 and 1985 Cynthia Rothrock, playing the title character.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Game of Death

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

tn_gameofdeathbruceleeiconMan, I hadn’t seen GAME OF DEATH in a long time. I forgot it was this ridiculous. It’s known for the yellow jumpsuit (homaged in BERRY GORDY’S THE LAST DRAGON, SHAOLIN SOCCER, KILL BILL VOLUME 1, etc.) and his fight against Kareem Abdul Jabbar while wearing it. But that’s only 11 minutes at the end, taken from the unfinished movie Bruce started directing before he took the opportunity to star in ENTER THE DRAGON. The other 90% is a bunch of filler bullshit trying to stretch those scenes out to feature length, with an entirely different plot that sleazily exploits the mystery surrounding Lee’s death.

But you know what, some of Lee’s friends and students are in it, so they must’ve approved. For example, Chuck Norris. Oh wait, that’s just clips from WAY OF THE DRAGON. Well, what about Kareem Abdul Jabbar? Oh wait, that’s some other tall black dude in sunglasses, because Kareem didn’t want to take part in the new scenes. (read the rest of this shit…)

Black Belt Jones

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

tn_blackbeltjonesFrom the director of ENTER THE DRAGON comes Jim Kelly as BLACK BELT JONES. Black Belt Jones is a cool, afro-sporting karate expert and sometimes government agent. He doesn’t have any other first name, but you can call him “B.B.” if you want. He tries to stay out of conflicts but then a crime lord named Pinky (Malik Carter) kills the owner of the karate school, Poppa “Pops” Byrd (Scatman Crothers). The government or somebody wants the land, so the mafia pushes Pinky, so Pinky is after the karate school. Pops wills it to a daughter nobody knew about named Sydney (Gloria Hendry from BLACK CAESAR), they use threats and kidnapping to try to force her to give it over, Black Belt helps out, etc.

Obviously it’s a silly movie and at times it’s sloppy, but it has many of the funny and absurd types of moments I look for in a movie like this. A couple of my favorites:

1. Robert Clouse’s directing credit is over a freeze frame of Black Belt aiming his gun at a dude who’s running away. When it unfreezes the bullet hits the guy in the ass. (read the rest of this shit…)

By Popular Demand! Vern Reviews The GYMKATA DVD!!

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

What else needs to be said?

This makes me giddy the same way Neill reviewing 300 did. Sometimes the right reviewer gets hold of the right film, and the result is… well, see for yourself:

I believe Donald Drunko was the name of the wiseguy talkback newsie who kept bugging Harry and Moriarty to review the GYMKATA DVD, and then roped me into it. If so this is for you, Drunko. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to perform this important service. Number one, I am a positive individual so I try to give back to the community. Number two, I always meant to see this horse shit anyway.

GYMKATA is the 1985 picture by Mr. Robert Clouse, director of ENTER THE DRAGON, BLACK BELT JONES, CHINA O’BRIEN and various other American martial arts pictures. Unfortunately he must’ve hit upon some hard times during the Reagan years because here he is rehashing ENTER THE DRAGON but instead of finding a cool new martial artist to star in it he got a gymnast. Kurt Thomas was a world champion and was expected to win a gold medal in the 1980 Olympics, but the US team boycotted over the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. If he had gone maybe he would’ve won, but maybe he wouldn’t have and people woulda been disappointed, the shine woulda been gone on him and nobody would’ve wanted to make GYMKATA. What I’m saying is this movie and Osama bin Laden are both unintended consequences of the same conflict. And I can say objectively that the better of the two is GYMKATA. GYMKATA is better than Osama bin Laden. (read the rest of this shit…)

Enter the Dragon

Friday, June 24th, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: ENTER THE DRAGON is a classic and it’s mainly because of Bruce Lee’s performance. More on this story as it develops.

Okay maybe that’s old news. He’d been trying for years to become a superstar in the US (he only went back to hong kong after being dissed one too many times by the white man). So it was a big deal for him to have his big american co-production. And in the movie he has so much screen presence that they had to build a special type of camera to film him, after going through six different regular cameras that broke because of his power.

Actually that’s complete bullshit, I just made that up. That woulda been cool though. Anyway anything you need to know about why Bruce Lee is such an icon is in this movie: the arrogant persona (his character is actually kind of a dick), the perfect physique, the powerful moves, the cool nunchucks, the occasional philosophy, the greatest theme song of all time (thank you Lalo Schifrin). But everybody knows that. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know if I talk about that. So let’s give some credit to the rest of the movie. For example, co-star John Saxon. (read the rest of this shit…)