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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Jackass - The Box Set
Jackass - The Box Set
Paramount // Unrated // December 6, 2005
List Price: $54.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted November 29, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Movie:

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you 'tried this at home' after hearing one of those warnings that people give before doing something really stupid? Well, Jackass explores all the possibilities for you and now the whole series is finally available on DVD! While Jackass Volume II and Volume III were released a couple of years ago, Volume I is new (explain that logic) and now available separately for those who have the earlier discs or in a fancy-schmancy boxed set that comes with a fourth disc of bonus material (but more on that later).

Almost like a series of short mondo films gone wrong, this MTV spawned reality show features a series of professional skateboarders, BMX riders, and frat boy type punks who essentially push not only the limits of the human body but also the limits of good taste. Originally thought of as a series of videos for a skateboard magazine called Big Brother, the show focused on Johnny Knoxville (now a Hollywood star, who knew?) and CKY alumni Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn as well as fellow skate thugs Chris Pontius, Wee-Man, and of course, Steve-O as they demonstrate all sorts of things that you should never, ever attempt yourself. The results are often times stupid, usually quite crass, always gross, and endlessly amusing.

It would be pointless and monotonous to list out every stunt included in the hours of material assembled for the set, but some of the highlights (or, low points, depending on your point of view) include…

Johnny Knoxville testing his new athletic cup by allowing himself to be hit in the nut sack with a sledgehammer or an eight-ball dropped off the top of a building. To top it all off, he allows some of his cohorts to shoot him in the groin point blank with a paintball gun. Steve-O pierces his ass cheeks together because he's 'tired of pooping all the time.' None of this is left to the imagination, it's all shown in all of its gory glory and the results are as disgusting as you'd expect them to be.

Chris Pontius, as Party Boy, heads into some electronics shops to test out a CD on some gear to get a feel for how it sounds. Once the music hits him and the mood is right, he rips off his tear-away pants and dances around the showroom floor in his silver stripper underpants and a bow tie in one of the funniest things ever caught on camera. Clad in a Santa suit, Knoxville heads into a Karate school and tries to spar with the students there training only to be removed quite forcefully. Later on, still in the Santa suit, he heads into a strange looking 'medical office' to have his colon cleaned out – never once taking off the beard or the hat.

You want more? Good, cause it's all here. Knoxville sticks his hand inside a cow. Pontius wrestles some alligators. Knoxville wanders around a beach in a suit with forty pounds of squid attached to it. Steve-O swallows a goldfish and then pukes it back up into a fishbowl, the fish still swimming around, much to the delight of a possibly homeless man wandering around the alley where the bit is shot. Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn wake up Bam's father Phil by playing a live metal concert for him at 2am, right there in the comfort of his own bedroom with amps and a drum kit, way before he got famous on his own with Viva La Bam. Preston Lacy and Wee Man chase each other around a busy downtown street in nothing but very revealing 'tighty whities' while onlookers simply shake their heads in confusion. This stunt is repeated a few times in different locations, and it never gets old.

Then there's the vomit factor! Not only does Lacy take on an egg eating challenge, resulting in Caligula-esque results but later in the series they repeat the stunt, this time with a holiday flare, by downing fifty shots of eggnog in an hour. In another bit, one of the guys eats a bunch of vegetables, pukes then into a bowl, then cooks it into an omlette and eat it again.

In between all of this are sections of skateboard stunts, bike stunts (Tony Hawk shows up to do a loop ramp into a lake wearing a chicken suit), big wheel racing, more skateboard stunts, and even some urban kayaking in which one of the guys maneuvers a full size kayak down a city water fountain and into a community square type area.

We get to see Ryan Dunn scuba dive into a sewage treatment plant, then later try to jump his BMX over a pungent looking creek only to get busted by the fuzz. The boys rig up a giant human sized sling shot that they use to propel one another into a festering, algae covered pond. Knoxville gargles leeches. Steve-O roams the streets in an Uncle Sam suit on stilts, falling at convenient times to catch the attention of as many people as possible. Another repeating skit is the 'father and baby' bits where one of the members of the troupe will use a lifelike doll and recklessly endanger it in front of large groups by doing things like crashing his bike or putting the baby carrier on top of the car and driving off. The results get pretty interesting when people who believe it to be real understandably go after them and try to help the poor, endangered, and completely inanimate little kid. Is any of it in good taste? No, not at all, but it's funny.

Jackass is quite simply the stupidest shows ever seen made but in all honesty, it's almost impossible to turn it off once you get started. A large part of the fascination with the series stems from wanting to know how the participants will top themselves and to see just how far they will go with their ideas and their stunts.

The controversy surrounding the show is well earned, as it leaves very little to the imagination, only optically fogging out frontal nudity and sometimes bleeped (and sometimes not) expletives. Pretty much everything else is fair game, and the camera tends to linger on such freakish ugliness far longer than it probably should. Wounds are zoomed in on, bruises are shown off, and puke is shown in plain detail, chunks and all. Whether or not you find all of this funny is debatable but there are moments in here that are pretty much guaranteed to make anyone laugh. Sometimes a few of the bits go on too long, like Steve-O on the stilts, but most of the bits are fine and don't wear out their welcome.

With the success of Jackass spin-offs like Wild Boyz and Viva La Bam it's fun to go back and see where it all really started to come together for these guys. While many of them have moved on to bigger though not necessarily better things, this material remains hilarious and gross and it's great to finally have it all on DVD to enjoy time and time again.

The DVD

Video:

All four discs in this set are presented full-frame (it's a TV show, so it's supposed to look like that), and the image for the most part is sharp and clean. The quality is better than average for something that is shot commando style with handhelds and sometimes hidden cameras. Given the way that this material was gathered you can't go in expecting reference quality video but you're not going to have any serious issues with the presentation here either. Colors for the most part are decent, black levels fairly strong, and while some of the softness inherent with the video format is definitely here, the image overall is pretty good.

Sound:

The Dolby Digital Stereo track sounds as good as can be expected for a show that is for the most part shot with handheld camcorders. Dialogue is usually pretty sharp, though at times there is hiss or wind noticeable on the track. This is all due to the way that the show is shot and to have had it removed for DVD would have taken away from the reckless charm of the material. There are no alternate language tracks or subtitles included on any of the four discs in this set.

Extras:

Paramount/MTV have done a very nice job of assembling some quality supplements for this release. First and foremost are the commentary tracks, which are available for each of the episodes in the set. Pretty much all the Jackass guys get a chance to speak about the bits that they had a part in, with plenty of laughing and joking around going on, and lots of 'dude' and 'who' comments from Steve-O coming at you every few minutes. There's a lot of friendly ribbing and teasing of one another and it isn't infrequently that the discussions go way off topic, but there is some good information and a lot of fun humor contained in these tracks. Knoxville, being the ring leader of sorts, dominates the sessions and seems to be making an effort to keep things moving in the right direction, but he's also guilty of giving in and going at it a few times as well. The guys do manage to do some explaining here and there of who came up with specific ideas and why, and how they pulled off some of the more dangerous stunts that you'll see performed in the set, but a large portion of this material is simply the guys goofing around with one another.

Also contained in this set is a fourth disc comprised solely of bonus features. First up on this disc is the Gumball Rally special in which the Jackass crew head to England to 'participate' in a road race that takes them from Great Britain to mainland Europe. Highlights of this special include Steve-O vomiting on the sidewalks of London for no apparent reason, Chris Pontius running around Latvia in the most patriotic briefs ever made, and some of the interaction between the crew and the race car drivers. This clocks in at about a half an hour or so in length and also features an optional commentary track from the participants that is along the same lines as the commentary tracks found for the episodes in the set – lots of goofing off in between some serious discussion of the events that are unfolding on screen.

An all new documentary is found next, entitled Jackass – Where Are They Now? which takes a look at where the crew members have gone since the show stopped airing new episodes on MTV. It's basically a forty minute collection of interviews with the cast members who all discuss the meteoric rise in popularity that the show had, how it affected them then, and what it's lead to since the show finished. Amusingly enough, Bam states that one of the best parts is that he doesn't have to wait in line at bars anymore, regardless of how many people he has tagging along with him. This is a pretty interesting and humorous look at the show and the effect it has had on pop culture.

Up next is the MTV Cribs – Jackass Special, which follows the format of the show and takes a look at the homes of the core members of the Jackass troupe. You can watch the whole thing in its complete form or opt to watch one guy at a time, as the boys guide you on quick tours of their homes. Chris Pontius originally lives in the back of a truck, but a later follow up segment reveals that later on he was able to score himself some pretty fancy digs. Steve-O's place is as weird as you would expect and he makes a point of showing off his condoms.

If that weren't enough, there are a few smaller supplements on this disc as well that are certainly worth looking at. The Jackass appearance on the MTV Music Video Awards is included here, as is the appearance of Knoxville, Wee-Man and Ryan Dunn on the MTV Latino Music Video Awards in which the three speak broken Spanish to the appreciative crowd. The Abduction clip is a brief skit in which the Jackass guys stage a fake kidnapping – who do they swipe? Brad Pitt of all people, right off the sidewalk, causing the people who witness it to freak out and panic a bit. Night Monkey 2 is a follow up to the fan favorite skit where a man in a monkey suit runs rampant in a crowded city area – this sequel to that skit is more of the same. Rounding out the features on the disc are a decent sized still gallery, and trailers for other Paramount/MTV DVD releases.

Also to be found inside the nice box emblazoned with a metallic embossed Jackass/skull logo, is a forty eight page full color booklet that explains the genesis of the show, how Knoxville and others were brought on board, and that also goes into some detail about a few of the more infamous stunts performed on the show.

Final Thoughts:

The show often times tends to be a love it or hate it deal, but for those who fall into the love it camp, this boxed set is a God send. Each episode is presented here and the wealth of extra features and insert booklet are the poop smeared icing on a deliciously tasteless cake. Jackass – The Box Set comes highly recommended!

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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