Are they original? Not one bit. Are they likable? Not very likely. Is there some redeeming artistic value in the cinematography or writing? Absolutely none. There's no defending the 'Jackass' crew, not their television show, their movies, or even their spin-off shows (or the earlier works of some of the crew, like the CKY videos). They're a bunch of complete idiots doing the most ridiculously stupid things for attention possible, attempting to disgust and amuse audiences at the same time. The humor is often incredibly homoerotic, borderline dangerous, and often mean spirited and cruel.
I wouldn't say that's why I have been a fan of the various incarnations of 'Jackass,' as the unpredictability and the sense of borderline anarchy that reigns over their videos is easily what hooked me so long ago. There's something about this crew of guys that may (hopefully) never be duplicated...and kids, don't go trying to do exactly that. Almost the entire group of jackasses are back (the absent faces were never the leads or stars) for a third trip to the film well, to see if they can do the opposite of outclassing themselves.
'Jackass 3' follows the exact same formula as the films and show that it follows. There is no running narrative, no plot, no acting, just a bunch of guys filming random crude, rude, obscene, vile, disgusting, and vicious stunts, putting their bodies through the ringer, and sometimes volunteering an unknowing co-star for some surprise pain or humiliation. Nothing is off limits, as anything goes, and often times, that means clothing, as well. The stunts are bigger, but the question is, did the laughs grow just as much?
'Jackass 3' isn't a poorly planned, unwanted cash-in sequel. It's also not all that inspired. In the film series, the third trip to the well is a mighty step above the second film, but still a bit behind the original. There are tons of vignettes this time around, with very few lasting all that long. Amazingly, there isn't all that much blood this go around, either, although the amount of urine and fecal matter may be unmatched, and the sheer amounts of male nudity solely for the sake of male nudity seem to exist solely to egg on the viewers, to poke fun at the homophobic, as even censor bars for genitalia sometimes sway away from what they're trying to cover.
This time, highlights include a segment with a jet engine propelling various objects at the crew, a science experiment volcano gone horribly, horribly wrong, a midget brawl, an overly amorous grandfather, and even a callback to the CKY days with a shopping cart fling...on a snow covered hill. There's plenty of pain to be found, with a hallway full of suspended stun guns and tasers, a pissed off scorpion (and his hilarious target), a game of tetherball featuring even more pissed off bees, numerous cast members being given "the Rocky," and, well, another animal kicking the cast's respective asses: a ram that's wanting to butt heads with the buttheads.
Speaking of buttheads, the Mike Judge MTV cartoon duo 'Beavis and Butthead' appear briefly to introduce the film, in "glorious" 3D (more on that later). They're not the only guests, though, as a number of footballers, Seann William Scott, Rip Taylor, Will the farter (yes, that's what he's called), the Dudesons, and Bam's parents April and Phil (of course) join the party, and end up getting their fair share of chances to dispense torture on the guys.
While I enjoyed a lot of the pain and suffering, there are some glaring flaws this time around that I couldn't ignore. How many times in one film do we need gags about balls (or dildos) being propelled at high velocity at someone's face? Isn't one enough? Didn't we already get a gag where a vehicle retailer gets pranked (and off camera more than handsomely reimbursed) before? How many different animals do we need to kick the shit out of the guys? Why is there so little of Chris Pontius, when he's obviously ready and willing to do virtually anything? Yes, that's an ironic statement, since we constantly have to see Pontius nude, but still. How many times does the peanut gallery's guffawing take more time than the stunt itself?!?
'Jackass 3' is like a visit from old friends, one that you can leave at any time and not hurt peoples feelings. Everyone you know hasn't changed a bit, and it's nice to see their smiling faces and painful grimaces again. This third time around, Preston Lacy, Ryan Dunn, and Wee Man get more of the spotlight, while obvious show faces Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera do their best to get some screen time to remind casting agents they're still alive. If you missed being able to see Steve-O vomit profusely on command, get ready! If you want to see a bunch of dicks getting some sweet karmic retribution, you're in the right place. 'Jackass 3' aims to please...or just piss all over you. Either way.
The Disc: Vital Stats
Paramount's Blu-ray release of 'Jackass 3' comes on a BD50 Dual Layer Disc, in a cut-out eco-case that's held under a nice slipcover, which, like all Paramount slips, is undersized. There is no annoying pre-menu content, just the basic studio hoopla. This release contains two cuts of the film, a 94 minute theatrical version, or a 99 minute Director's Cut, which was the focus of this review.
Upon announcement, fans were let down that there was no stereoscopic 3D version of the film even teased, but hope was held out that Best Buy or another store would have an exclusive version, much like was the case for 'The Last Airbender.' Well, those of us who have seen the weekly sales ads will know not to get their hopes up all that much, as it does not appear that there will be any form of stereoscopic release of 'Jackass 3D.' This is, of course, keeping in line with studio policy to not give consumers options, and to treat Blu-ray 3D like it's some kind of leprous, inbred, redheaded step-child.
In other news, everyone who owns a 3DTV stand and salute Paramount. One finger per person.
'Jackass 3' comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encode that's obviously limited by its very jumbled source material. This film uses a variety of cameras, some for multi-angle coverage, and the end result feels very cobbled together, with about as much continuity as Dennis Rodman's historic hairdos.
Of course, with the numerous 3D cameras, as well as the Phantom cam, there are some bright and shining moments. Any Phantom shot is beyond amazing, with superb, vivid colors, and the tiniest of details brought to life with so much clarity and precision that any shot with this cam becomes instant demo material. Picture depth is sometimes quite solid, even in this 2D (boo) edition, though there is some random flatness, due to the varying grade equipment. Banding? None of it, at all, not even in the red room for the sweatsuit gag, and scenes like that are normally breeding grounds for poor color transitions.
On the downside, though, whites are often blown out, and grain levels and picture clarity are all over the place, with numerous shots so dull that they look like they were rotoscoped after being vomited on, with a horribly blotted look. There's some random noise, contrast levels that are all over the place, random muted colors, some heavy edge artifacts due to cam quality, and some token aliasing to boot in the lesser equipment. I can imagine adding 3D to the mix would only make it even more random and hodgepodged, but I'd still prefer to see this film that way, since that's how it was filmed.
Paramount's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for 'Jackass 3' surprised me. It's not so much about precision as it is blunt impact, and that's all good and fine, as this isn't exactly a show that's exactly delicate. I was mostly shocked at how the rear speakers were utilized in this one...and how little the bass was used.
Numerous skits have full speaker use in mind, as objects and bodies go flying through the room. Localization is surprisingly frequent and accurate. Rears also get their fair share of soundtrack bleed, to fill in other gaps. The majority of the film is located in the front, like all of the peanut gallery laughter, and dialogue, but that does fit the type of film this is. What's shocking is that it takes the entire film to get some serious bass levels, with the final segment, when there were numerous chances beforehand. Seriously, the jet engine sequence sounded so poor and wimpy that what was seen on screen was a thousand times more powerful and convincing than what we hear. Electric Avenue, which was a fun little skit, had its ups and downs, as the superb localizing tasers were countered by the fact that dialogue got drowned out pretty fast. There's some point blank boom mic screams that sound harsh (particularly the ones in the superglue segment), but that's just how the film was made. Not since 'The Wicker Man' has there been this many bees in your surround speakers, just be warned!
There's a bonus DVD copy of the film included in this release, and it contains an anaglyphic(?!!) 3D version of the film. I suppose this counts as added value, somehow.
Not as good as the first, but better than the second, 'Jackass 3/3D' is a fun return trip to the well, that has a nice mixture of fun moments, revolting shock humor, and some nice mean spirited assholery that makes up the show. This one may be the most "extreme" of the bunch, so just get ready for some brief moments of clothing being less than brief. This Blu-ray release has good video (all things considered), surprising audio, and a nice pile of extras. It also has an anaglyphic SD copy of the film. No matter what, I am absolutely furious with Paramount for not giving consumers a stereoscopic 3D version of the film, and knowing their backwards, imbecilic logic, they'll probably release it a year down the line, when anyone interested already bought this release, and then blame the poor sales on 3D or Blu-ray being too niche. If the poor sales of 'The Last Airbender' 3D caused us to not get a true 3D copy of this film, then I need to go grab a boxing glove and a cup of water and do a run down of each and every person involved in this ridiculous decision making process.