‘Jackass Forever’ Blu-Ray Review
I vividly remember the moment, more than 20-years ago now, flicking through the TV channels and discovering ‘Jackass’ for the first time on MTV. It was the episode where Johnny Knoxville was testing an athletic cup in various ways, including letting a bunch of kids kick him in the nuts. I remember laughing so much at what I was seeing, it’s become one of those indelible pop culture memories for me. I couldn’t have imagined that 22-years later I’d be watching them doing this dumb shit all over again in their fourth feature length outing.
But here we are…the Jackass crew are back. Older, greyer, and with a few new sets of teeth. Knoxville, his trusty lieutenants Steve-O and Chris Pontius, along with Dave England, “Danger” Ehren McGhehey, Wee-Man, and Preston Lacy are all once again throwing their bodies on the line for our entertainment. The CKY Crew (Bam, Brandon and the rest) haven’t returned for various reasons, but there is an injection of fresh blood (and other bodily fluids) from newcomers Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, and Sean “Poopies” McInerney.
‘Jackass Forever’ sets the tone in the magnificent opening scene, riffing on Godzilla and other Kaiju movies. The ground begins to shake. People start to flee. The city is under attack from what at first glance appears to be a giant green monster, but is actually just Chris Pontius’ penis, painted green and with little puppet arms attached to it. Another Kaiju rises from the carnage to do battle with the monster. It is a snapping turtle. You can see where this is going. Welcome to Jackass!
For the next 90-minutes, this group of middle-aged delinquents will have you wincing, gagging, and howling with laughter. More often than not, all at the same time. It may be gross, and juvenile, and extremely dangerous, but I found the whole thing to be weirdly wholesome. Maybe it’s the nostalgia factor. Or the infectious laughter. Or maybe it’s just the transcendent joy of watching a group of friends sitting around and smacking each other in the dick.
No matter how extreme the stunts are, it never becomes mean-spirited or nasty. The joke is always on them, and you can tell they love each other. This is no more evident than with Danger Ehren, who was so often the butt of the joke in the past, to the extent that it sometimes did appear to cross a line. But in ‘Jackass Forever’ he really comes to the fore, and emerges as the film’s de facto leading man. His heroic exploits in the hideously enhanced version of The Cup Test, and also facing down a bear whilst covered in honey and raw salmon are two of the film’s standout moments. I predict that, “Mr Bear…eat that dick” will become a movie quote for the ages.
The younger guys have clearly been brought in to take some of the heavier hits, and partake in the more ill-advised stunts, similar to what the CKY Crew brought to the show in its heyday. That chaotic mix of extreme sports and extreme stupidity. But when it comes down to it, the biggest hit of them all is taken by the ringmaster himself. It’s the one at the top of this review showing Knoxville getting fucking destroyed by a rodeo bull. As one of the guys says as he is stretchered away in ambulance, “that’s why he’s the Captain.”
If ‘Jackass Forever’ had been a nostalgic victory lap for Knoxville et al, I don’t think anyone would have begrudged that. They could so easily have used this film to say a definitive goodbye to Jackass. Or alternatively, they could have tried to innovate and do something completely different. What makes it so brilliant, is that they’ve done neither of those things. This is just more of the same shit they’ve always been doing. Because it works. Because it’s funny. And because getting hit in the nuts with a flip-flop will never get old.
The blu-ray release comes with one special feature, which is a prolonged cut of bonus scenes. These are a series of stunts and skits that didn’t make the final cut for one reason or another. For some this is because they didn’t quite work, such as Steve-O trying to fire a butt plug on the end of an arrow up Zach’s a-hole. For others it is clearly because they just weren’t funny enough.
But there are still things in the deleted scenes which I can safely say you haven’t seen in a film before. And what a rare treat that is for movie fans. Even if those things include Ehren falling face first into Zach’s arse crack and then making Zach sniff his own rancid arse smell from Ehren’s face, thus making him projectile vomit. Vive le cinema.