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Review: 'Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D' an extreme bore

The team Nitro Circus and its stunts display none of the showmanship or subversion that distinguished the similarly themed film 'Jackass.'

August 07, 2012|By Mark Olsen
  • The "Nitro Circus" cast gleefully engages in a variety of body-banging, pain-inducing physical acts.
The "Nitro Circus" cast gleefully engages in a variety of body-banging,… (Arc Entertainment )

If you're already familiar with the motorcycle-jumping, car-crashing, body-banging brand of extreme sports marketed and practiced by the team Nitro Circus through its television show, then you might be predisposed to enjoy "Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D."

Though decidedly not for everyone, "Jackass," both the TV series and the movies Johnny Knoxville and his team made, had a sharply wry sense of narrative, showmanship and subversion. By contrast, "Nitro Circus," opening Wednesday, remains firmly planted in the realm of the inarticulate dude-bro, where shirtless men gleefully engage in physical acts of self-inflicted pain without a trace of real self-awareness or understanding.

Even their character constructions — a fat guy, a dim-witted guy, the leader, etc. — feel thoughtless and rote. The group's sole female member, Jolene Van Vugt, is frequently described as tough and capable, but in the film, she performs just one stunt on a tricycle and is a passenger in a second gag.

Mostly, she appears on screen in a bikini top, cheering on the guys.

Billed as Nitro Circus members though they perform no stunts in the movie, directors Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle show no real sense of pacing, turning in a film that feels windy and padded even though it runs less than 90 minutes. (It also comes across as outrageously self-aggrandizing, with even Channing Tatum inexplicably showing up for a testimonial, as does Knoxville.)

The movie is designed to build up to a Las Vegas arena performance, but the event feels like an afterthought once it finally happens. Instead, a long stretch of screen time is devoted to repeated runs at a lakeside ramp stunt that isn't even inventive or visually interesting.

"Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D" is strictly for fans only.

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