For those unaware, 'Jackass 1.5,' 'Jackass 2.5,' and now 'Jackass 3.5' are not extended cuts of the other films, like, say, the DVD release of 'X-Men 1.5.' Instead, with the massive amount of footage shot for each film, an entirely separate film can be made from the trimmings, in what may very well be the best extra a fan of a series could ever ask for. These are the gags that didn't quite work. These are the repetitive, overly complicated, or just plain unfunny gags. These are the gags that need to be explained by the cast for periods of time longer than the gag itself took.
This is the cash-in (tie-in), the attempt to milk more money out of the already extremely profitable franchise, diluting it past the point of sustainability. The point of no return is passed. Beware, even hardcore fans: this may not be the 'Jackass' you were looking for. Especially if the 'Jackass' you were looking for was one in, I dunno, 3D or something like that. 'Jackass 3.5' is a mixture of reaction, response, remembrance and remorse from the crew, alongside failed gags, less humorous skits, and other inanities. The failures are focused on, sometimes far too long, reminding us that these skits are much less random than the polished feature films would leave you to believe. The end result? A pseudo-documentary, a "making of" feature that is a feature of its own. There is no arguing, either: few moments in this release are more humorous than those found in the actual theatrical film.
Witness the "ghetto defibrillators" or the "electric limbo," as the man child crew of 'Jackass' play with electricity, before turning the tide in another prank with a cattle prod on a fellow prankster. Shake your head at the random animal exploitation, with an alligator snapping turtle that is aching to bite off a piece of Steve-O's ass, a woodpecker that lives up to its name by pecking at some peculiar "wood," Wee-Man facing off against a bull with little more than a yoga ball, a cat sexually assaulting itself, and the worst part of a camel: its toe. Prepare to be disgusted with the random male genitalia fascination found by the majority of the crew, as real and fake penises both assault and are assaulted. Learn about the production, the preparation behind many a gag, and their sometimes severe consequences, as chairs are decimated, bodies are permanently scarred, men are burned, and the poor mixture of the long jump and enemas are shown. These men live up to their name here, as we witness ninety minutes of sheer jackass-ness.
'Jackass 3.5' is funniest when it doesn't try, but sadly, it tries so hard, so often, the entire affair seems forced. There are few things funnier than watching one of the guys hiding behind a chain link fence in plain view waiting to ambush someone, or watching Bam Margera's interview studio chair fall to pieces for no apparent reason in this release. It's these somewhat pure moments, that are purely honest in their approach, oblivious of the hilarity that is ensuing, that make the feature interesting, but they are few and far between. Rather, we get too many skits that are excessively explained in advance, on set or long afterwards, as we see the long preparations, the failed attempts before success (sometimes, success isn't even attained!), and the humor is sapped away, as there's little to no spontaneity to the affair. It's overly self aware excess for the sake of excess, with the guys attempting to entertain each other rather than their audience.
These axed gags can be interesting, though. The "magnagoggles" are beyond hilarious, while the closing segment, "Knoxville's incredible nut shots," parodies a viral video of a quarterback doing a variety of trick throws, with the obvious twist straight out of 'Idiocracy''s fake television show, 'Ow My Balls!' We see plenty of obviously painful stunts, like the "belt sander skates," which results in serious trauma, or the "drywall drop-in," which looks more painful than it probably is, or "the cheetah," the end result of Wee-Man being paint balled to the point he looked speckled. Some stunts, like the "flaming gauntlet," make you think you're in for a world of serious pain, but the gnarly, ridiculous flames subside so much by the time the stunt is performed it's somewhat of a yawn when we see it in action.
This unrated add-on release is almost uncomfortably homoerotic, as it tries far too much to make viewers squirm, with these segments spread out across the release somewhat obviously in an attempt to offend. Others, sadly, seem suited for the long cancelled television show, with little edginess or originality to be found. The snow antics especially are lame, as there's no "yellow snow cone," just fat suits and intentionally botched tricks. We don't feel their pain, and, unfortunately, they don't feel ours. Sure, it's nice to see the return of the Pontius Devil, and some of the more mean spirited gags that show us the familiarity of the crew over the long filming schedule are great, but this release is a significant step down from the third film, or even 'Jackass 2.5,' the previous cobbled together bonus feature.
The Disc: Vital Stats
'Jackass 3.5' is housed on a BD50, with no slipcover or other packaging goodness (unlike 'Jackass 3'), found exclusively for an undisclosed period at Best Buy stores nationwide. If anyone tries to convince you there is a Blu-ray 3D edition out there, remember that they're a filthy liar and a cruel tease.
The 1.78:1 framed 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encode has the same qualities as the 'Jackass 3' Blu-ray release...only, there is less of the startling phantom cam footage, which was the highlight the last time around. The random grade footage makes the film look very inconsistent, with some gritty, grainy messes lacking in real detail, followed up by startlingly sharp and deep pictures, then on to horribly blocked, artifacted footage (found especially in the blowback and kissing booth segments, and a part of the bareback base jump briefly). The picture is sometimes overblown, but is, for the most part, stable in color and contrast level. The drywall segment features some heinous noise spikes, as does Knoxville's "Swallows" jersey. The interview footage is very sharp, possibly the highlight of this release, which is great, because it takes up much more time than you think!
'Jackass 3.5' sounds just about the same as 'Jackass 3' did, with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix boasting the same strengths and weaknesses.
Bass levels are powerful from the start, and music can be loud, loud loud, but that peanut gallery is always just slightly louder, sometimes inappropriately so. This film is a front heavy affair, with rears mostly used for music bleed, and an opening crowd roar that does not tell the rest of the story, just teases what isn't to be. The volume levels are so very random, with the participants spiking in volume up and down sporadically, which can be annoying. There's some hums and whirs from the cameras, as well as some random static and rustling.
Just take this for what it is: a hit or miss audio experience that packs power, and some great thumps (especially on doo doo falls). Don't expect much, and you'll be very happy.
If you saw 'Jackass 3' on Blu-ray, you know what to expect from '3.5' in terms of quality. The video is the same, and the audio is the same...it's just the show itself is lazy, pathetic, uninteresting, unoriginal, and sloppy. Yes, there are some good laughs to be found here. Sure, 'Jackass' stalwarts will pick this up no matter what. This release is just more salt in the open wound that is Paramount refusing to release 3D content to anyone but Samsung. If this were a Real 3D release, it would have sold like hot cakes, even if the show itself was poor. As is...consider this just another supplement disc.