Love them or hate them, it's hard to deny that the "Jackass" crew has taken things up a few notches for "Jackass 2", the sequel to the phenomenally successful (well, it grossed $65m, but that's awfully good, considering it cost $5M) first feature. Best described as an R-rated cross between "Fear Factor" and "America's Funniest Home Videos", "Jackass" stars Johnny Knoxville and a group of co-stars, including skateboarder Bam Margera - essentially, a group of 20/30-somethings who've never grown up - and has the bunch performing twisted stunts.
"Jackass" is rude, crude, dangerous, controversial, sick, disgusting and stupid. However, "Jackass" is also pretty hilarious; I said regarding the first film that I haven't laughed at anything so hard in a few months and the same can be said about the sequel.
Some of the highlights from this time around include Johnny Knoxville getting hit by a bull, a skit where four members of the group go up and down on a teeter-totter in the middle of a ring while a bull chases after them, medicine ball dodgeball (throwing around heavy medicine balls in a tiny room with the lights off), Knoxville strapping himself onto a rocket and getting blasted off over a lake and the opening, where the group is running down the street, only to have the camera reveal that they're being chased down the street by a pack of angry bulls.
As we're told at the beginning of "Jackass 2.5", the filmmakers essentially shot two films worth of footage and wanted to offer some of the best stunts that didn't make it into the sequel. While one may rightly think that the filmmakers are just trying to pack together some deleted scenes and serve them up as another movie (trying to repackage the "number 2 from number 2", in "Jackass" terms), that theory goes out the window after watching the first stunt, a hysterical bit featuring Preston Lacy dressed as King Kong and Wee Man as Ann Darrow. The sight of the two of them dressed up and standing on top of a portable toilet as the rest of the group pilots giant remote-controlled airplanes and sends them towards the two is nothing short of hysterical. No one gets hurt too physically here (maybe emotionally), but the wide shot of Lacy swatting planes out of the sky gets a huge laugh.
Other highlights include: a mini-car race through a supermarket that has a series of smash-ups as onlookers stare; a horrified Mike Judge ("Beavis and Butthead", "King of the Hill") watching as Lacy gets air pushed up his rear so can fart; Bam Margera shooting off a rocket in his house that melts the carpet and Wee Man taking on a small - but incredibly angry - bull in the ring.
The cast and crew chat about the making of the movie in-between the stunts. While not something that's enough to be worthwhile to put into theatres, "Jackass 2.5" will be a lot of fun for fans.
VIDEO: "Jackass 2.5" is presented by Paramount Home Video in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Given the material, the picture quality is perfectly fine. The image reamined sharp and crisp, even with some of the "hidden camera" footage.
There were really very few problems with the image quality. A couple of instances of slight artifacting were present in the film, but certainly nothing series. The element used looked excellent, with no wear.
The film's natural color palette looked fine, with no concerns. Essentially, Paramount's presentation shows off the film (which I'm guessing was shot partially or completely on digital video) about as well as it can probably look. There's a full-frame version also available, but why wouldn't you want to see "Jackass" in all of its widescreen glory?
SOUND: "Jackass 2.5" is presented by Paramount in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's soundtrack does have a few moments of fairly active surround use (most noticably in a scene with a firehose spraying), but other than a few brief bits, this is generally a very front-heavy soundtrack, with clear dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: A 23-minute "making of" doc has the cast and crew chatting about the making of - and the horrors of - the stunts that are featured in this half-sequel. If the hour-long "2.5" wasn't enough for you, there's more footage included in the 45-minute reel of deleted scenes, which includes lovely moments like Steve-O snorting a fly and spitting it out. Other highlights include a cart rally through the streets of India, an incredibly painful looking "Rapunzel" bit, Knoxville getting kicked in the nuts in front of the Taj Mahal, Bam stepping out of a van and right into a pre-set hole and a long discussion of a bit that wasn't going to happen, but required one of the most disgusting things ever to be glued to the cast member's face.
Finally, we also get a photo gallery, making of "Jackass: The Video Game", weblinks (jackassworld.com) and promos for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: "Jackass 2.5" is another dose of inspired mayhem from the cast, with several funny new bits and some entertaining bonus footage and features. Recommended for fans. The movie will be available for download at Movielink.com on 12/19/07 (see "Wired" story here: http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/12/viacoms-online.html); the DVD with all the extra footage comes out on 12/26/07.
The Film B+