If there was any one entertainment franchise that no one would have expected to have over 20 years of staying power, it would probably be this one. Debuting as a reality show on MTV in late 2000 before branching out into movies, Jackass brand of random stunts, pranks, and gross-out gags has proven to be a mainstay of American pop culture throughout the 21st century and has had a profound effect on our mass media, for better or for worse. And now, in an era when their myriad imitators can easily produce, distribute, and market their own content across social media, can these aging friends still compete? Should they? While their doctors would almost certainly answer “no” to the second question, it’s up to the rest of us to answer the first.
These movies always open with a larger scale set piece that brings together the entire cast, and here we get a surprisingly well-made spoof of Japanese kaiju movies that sees a city being attacked by a giant phallus. If you are already put off by that, I can guarantee you won’t like anywhere else that the movie takes you. Over the ensuing 90+ minutes Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, and Preston Lacy all once again subject each other to a wide variety of tortures. The weak-stomached will be happy to know that there are a lot less gross-out moments here (though there are still several), but they do still subject themselves and a slew of younger newcomers to several dangerous and painful stunts.
It’s hard to imagine the remaining original cast members being able to keep doing this much longer. Remarks about their ages are relatively frequent, as even they clearly seem to be starting to wonder the same thing. At one point Knoxville is flipped into the air by a raging bull, in a stunt very similar to one from the first movie but this time he doesn’t get up right away, and the concern on the faces of everyone around him is very real. Aside from that and a few other brief but similar moments though, the gang appears to be having an unhealthy amount of fun. The raucous laughter remains pretty constant as they are each slapped, punched, kicked, bitten, and slammed around a host of ingenious set-ups, and it’s hard not to get wrapped up in it. They are all clearly happy to spend this time together again, and so in turn, are we. ★★★★
RATED R for STRONG CRUDE MATERIAL AND DANGEROUS STUNTS, GRAPHIC NUDITY, AND LANGUAGE THROUGHOUT.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor