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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Grind-Fu Cinema Presents Bad Action Movies September 29th!

Grind-Fu Cinema presents a Cannon Films double feature on Saturday, September 29th, featuring Gymkata and Invasion USA!




Grind-Fu Cinema presents


Kurt Thomas in


Chuck Norris in

Saturday, September 29th @ 7:00 p.m.
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
Minnesota State University, Mankato
415 Malin St, Mankato, MN


Made possible through funding from the Minnesota State Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

Last month Grind-Fu Cinema fulfilled the movie loving dreams of Shuffle Function host Shelley, who has always wanted to show Being There on the big screen. In September it's her co-host Shyboy Tim's chance to make his movie nerd dreams come alive! Are the movies good? NO. Are they great to watch because of that? HECK YEAH! Grind-Fu Cinema is delivering a roundhouse kick of bizarre cinematic excitement this September with a double feature of low quality masterpieces from Cannon Films. Get excited!



"It was almost like a bowel movement. You make a movie, it comes out, you flush it, and you move on to another one."

That's how someone once described how Cannon films were produced. For two decades they churned out movies of questionable quality and laughed all the way to the bank. Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme were two of the stars that built their careers on big piles of money shelled out by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, a couple of Israeli brothers with a love of cinema. Actually, they were the lucky ones. Many of the actors in Cannon films were just as likely to have their careers end with the films they starred in for the company.

The Cannon business model was based on buying bottom of the barrel scripts and turning them into movies, and their business model was good. The films, not so much. It's not like they didn't completely care about what they put out, but rather that they just loved making movies more than paying attention to quality. The entire saga is detailed in the amazing documentary "Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films". It's a pretty amazing story.

Now that you know the insanity behind Cannon Films, let's see the movies!


Gymkata (1985)
Directed by Robert Clouse

Twelve years before he directed Gymkata, Robert Clouse directed Enter the Dragon. Honestly, who did he have to anger to end up on that career track? Enter the Dragon is a bonafide classic, but Gymkata is... well, it's a kind of classic. It's a classic of the gymnastics based martial arts film genre, but it's also the ONLY gymnastics based martial arts film. This is not a strong movie, like so many Grind-Fu Cinema films before it, but it's crazy fun to watch the trainwreck on the big screen.

Gymkata stars Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Kurt Thomas as an American gymnast sent by the U.S. government to compete in a deadly martial arts competition in the fictional nation of Parmistan. One would think that they would have wanted to send an actual... you know... martial arts expert, but whatever. The winner of the competition gets to live and they also get one wish, and the government wants him to win so he can use the wish for their own purposes. What follows is 90 minutes of bad acting, a convoluted story, and a whole bunch of gymnastics. "When gymnastics and Karate are fused, the combustion becomes an explosion, and a new kid of martial arts superhero is born!" GYMKATA!

Gymkata has a miserable 17% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB gives it a mere 4.3 stars out of ten. Having said that, it received the most votes in a contest by Warner Home Video to determine which obscure film should receive a home video release, so clearly it's a fan favorite. Shyboy Tim stands by it, no matter what Shelley says. YOU BE THE JUDGE.

This film will NEVER be selected for preservation as a culturally significant film by the Library of Congress.


Invasion U.S.A. (1985)
Directed by Joseph Zito

This poster tells you everything you need to know. Chuck Norris two fisting Uzis? SELL US OUR TICKETS NOW! Chuck was Cannon Films' biggest star throughout the 80s, roundhouse kicking his way to massive box office profits in their low budget films. Invasion U.S.A. was the first in a six film deal that he had established with the studio, and it really kicks things off with a bang. Does it matter what it's about? Probably not. Fighting and explosions and dead bad guys. We're all winners!

Invasion U.S.A. features Chuck Norris saving America from terrorists that arrive via boat in Florida to take trucks all over the country and do evil. At the time this was an insane concept, because America was still pretty naive about terrorism. Times certainly have changed. At least then we had the dream of Chuck Norris, a one man war on terror, to save us.

Invasion U.S.A. was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, which worked out exceptionally well for a couple of sequences in the film. A neighborhood in the city was scheduled to be bulldozed to make room for an airport runway, so the filmmakers were able to blow up the entire thing for a terrorist attack sequence. Likewise, they were also allowed to destroy part of a shopping mall that was due to be remodeled. It made the film seem bigger budget than it was, but at the end of the day it was still a Cannon Film. There was simply no way to avoid that.

Roger Ebert gave Invasion U.S.A. a generous 1 1/2 stars out of four, saying "Invasion U.S.A. is a brain damaged, idiotic thriller, not even bad enough to be laughable." Vincent Canby in the The New York Times wrote "The Action scenes make so little sense that by the time the film moves from Miami to Atlanta, where the last ditch of this particular World War III is fought, the enemy troops outnumber the United States Army, the National Guard, and native Atlantans. Heaven help us." To these reviews Shyboy Tim says "One man's trash is another man's treasure!"

Invasion U.S.A. won the 1985 Academy Award for absolutely nothing, but it won our action loving hearts. That much is true.

Join us for this incredible FREE double feature action fest on Saturday, September 29th! It's in Wiecking 220 Auditorium on the campus of Minnesota State University Mankato. Bring snacks, sodas, sweaters (because the air conditioning can really rock), super cool friends, and smiles! For more information, drop us an e-mail at

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