As I made clear in my review of the Jackass team’s second cinematic outing, this isn’t really a ‘film’ in the traditional sense. It’s episodic, without a narrative (or even any overarching theme) and basically nothing more than a collection of stunts and pranks of varying quality rammed together and released in cinemas.
This third film, however, has the added attraction of being filmed in 3D. To be more precise, it seems that each stunt has a component filmed in 3D. Since Jackass is almost always filmed with multiple cameras, it’s clear that they usually had the 3D setup present, along with normal handheld cameras as well. This means that the majority of the film is technically a postproduction 3D conversion, but with impressive real 3D at regular intervals. It’s really interesting seeing these two techniques side by side, and if for some insane reason one couldn’t tell the difference between, say, Avatar or Clash of the Titans, it’s all on display here in the one film.
Some of the true 3D shots are fantastic. You know how 3D films often come up with lame excuses to have objects pointed at or hurling towards the audience? (Think the bat and ball segment of the original House of Wax, or even the lance being pointed at the audience in Beowulf). Well, with this film, it actually makes sense. Jackass isn’t much more than a glorified freak show at an old-school, politically incorrect circus anyway, so the format suits it well.
The only downside is that the camera operators sometimes fudge the shots. I appreciate that with capturing stunts like this on camera, there are a lot of variables to take into account, but it is disappointing to watch what should be a glorious slow-motion 3D shot but for the fact that it’s out of focus. It’s a small complaint, and only happens two or three times, but it’s particularly noticeable.
So then we come to the actual stunts, which are a mixed bag. Sure, one never gets tired of seeing Johnny Knoxville charged by a bull, but the relevant images for Jackass: Number Two and Jackass 3D are practically identical. Throughout this film there is a lingering sense that we’ve seen it all before (and I haven’t even watched the first film!) Furthermore, there are no cleverly designed pranks (like the brilliant taxi ride double-prank that I raved about in their previous outing), so the film never feels like it peaks.
If this is your sort of thing, and you haven’t seen the first two films, then you’ll probably get the most out of Jackass 3D. For those who’ve sat through it all before however, they might find this more than a little disappointing. Indeed, there are several segments that are simply bigger and better remakes of stunts they’ve previously pulled off in the TV series or the DVD re-releases of their films. In this sense, coupled with the pretty nifty 3D, I’m actually of the rare opinion that it only makes sense to see this film in 3D or not at all.
It feels like this may be the last time the Jackass boys get together, and indeed the end titles feature a retrospective of their younger years. This makes a lot of sense, since at least half of them are almost 40, and I can imagine that their recovery time isn’t as speedy as it was in their 20s. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, really, and whilst the inflated 3D ticket price probably helped this become the highest grossing Jackass film thus far, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made this their swansong.Rating: