Towards the end of 2010, 3D movies have largely been a failed gimmick at the box office, largely due to the fact that this special effect has been crudely applied to movies that gained nothing from the process, such as the latest Resident Evil movie. Jackass 3D does not have this problem. Something is indeed gained from the added dimension that 3D applies.
Put another way, I almost threw up.
For those who are not acquainted with the Jackass series, think of a group of men who have chosen not to grow up, playing juvenile pranks on one another and on themselves involving dangerous, painful and often sickening stunts.
You may wonder why this movie made $50 million dollars last weekend, and why I went to the trouble of seeing it.
The secret lies in the equal way in which the pain is distributed among all of the cast members. Ringleader Johnny Knoxville may laugh devilishly at a donkey kicking Chris Pontius in the leg as he plays a real game of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”, but in the next skit, he is the one on the receiving end of the punishment.
As the cast members laugh uproariously at their turns of horrid fate, we in the audience are given permission to laugh with them.
However, this is not a new aspect to the Jackass series. This time, four years since the second installment, 3D cameras were utilized to film the majority of the stunts. With most of the laughter coming before the stunt is pulled off, the anticipation of the impending blow is much greater when a giant ball is pulled back against a rubber band towards the camera. As a result, the depth of field makes the impact that much greater.
I’ll also add that there are things shown here in 3D that I may have never wanted to. There is a lot of vomiting. There is a bit of blood. And there is more male nudity than you will see in the rest of this year’s major releases combined.
There are also no heroes in this film. Few would see what goes on in this film and want to duplicate it in any way, particularly as the stakes have gotten higher and the potential for serious injury has risen.
On more than one occasion someone nearly breaks their neck, which we then get to see again, in slow motion. Rather than feeling distanced from the action as one might normally experience in a movie theatre, the sense of danger is enhanced by the third dimension.
If there were going to be any identifiable heroes, it would be the animals that are repeatedly featured in the movie.
A buffalo, bull and most notably a ram exact nature’s revenge upon these jerks who dare to mess with them. The clang of the ram’s horns against a tuba played in the ram’s face holds a sort of terrible justice.
These sequences are among the most memorable because while we are able to predict how a bystander might react to a grandfather kissing his granddaughter, we have absolutely no idea how a ram will react to off-color music.
The unpredictability of the animals helps to keep the movie interesting in between the more straightforward pranks.
Even at brief eighty minutes, there is still significant fatigue on the viewer. It is very nearly too much. When Steve-O is shaken upside down in a porta-potty connected to bungee cords, there is not much more the movie can do to top it.
Yet, despite the repetition of the film, the 3D does add something significant to the movie. As mentioned earlier, I nearly threw up at one stunt.
I decided that this had to be worth four stars for managing this feat alone, so there you go. I probably would have given it five if I had actually thrown up. With this in mind, let that be your guide to whether or not you should see this film.