"Jackass" started off as one of those things that I doubt anyone involved thought would be what it turned out to be. The series, which became one of the most popular ever on MTV (and spawned a feature film that, despite being essentially an extended episode costing $5m, went on to make nearly $65m) , can best be described as a twisted, drunken version of "Fear Factor", with some "America's Funniest Home Videos" thrown in for good measure. Essentially, star/host Johnny Knoxville and his band of pranksters come up with new (and, love it or hate it, you have to admit that they're occasionally pretty creative in their own bizarre way)and sometimes quite dangerous ways to either injure themselves (don't try this at home, kids!) or shock and/or embarass others.
"Mat Hoffman's Tribute to Evel Knievel" is a "Jackass" special, which sees BMX star Mat Hoffman and friends (Travis Pastrana, Jeff "Harley" Schneider and others) try to pull off remarkable stunts in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma and try and break records. Of course, this being a "Jackass" special, some people miss the stunt they were attempting and miss spectacularly hard. Even Johnny Knoxville (who "hosts") and director Spike Jonze attempt to do a flip, to mixed results (Jonze actually kind of manages it, but Knoxville barely manages to ride the bike.) Later in the program, Knoxville tries to do a flip and the results lead Knoxville right into an ambulance.
The program isn't the most visually slick (see "Ultimate X" for the most remarkable cinematography for a stunt program), but no "Jackass" program has exactly ever been known for visual style. In terms of music, the show does get some bonus points for use of Fugazi.
Overall, the program is basically entertaining and quite a tribute to Knievel, although I'm not sure how much replay value the program is going to have, even for fans.
VIDEO: Paramount presents the show in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. The presentation quality does vary, although it's often due to filming technique more than anything else. Some sequences appear impressively crisp and detailed, while others look mildly soft and noisy. The presentation does show a few traces of artifacting, but otherwise looked crisp and clean, with bright colors.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack sounded crisp and clear, with punchy music and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: About 35 minutes worth of bonus footage, including some additional stunt sequences and preparation. A tribute to injured BMX rider Stephen Murray is very moving and worth a viewing. We also get info on Evel Knievel days, a Hoffman career retrospective, the link to the Jackass website, a photo gallery, music videos and previews for other Paramount titles.
Final Thoughts: While it's a basically fun program and the DVD offers a good deal of supplements, many will be fine with watching it once. The $24.99 price tag is also high, given the length of the program. Rent it.