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Feature


After the successful release of Jackass 3-D there were news stories where Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville talked about how much additional footage they shot for the film, and how they had enough good material left over to put together a whole new movie. At one point the plan was to release Jackass 3.5 in theatres, but it looks like that didn’t happen. Instead, we are getting a straight-to-video release (the Blu-ray is currently a Best Buy exclusive). They did the same thing in 2007 with Jackass 2.5, which I never saw, but the general consensus seems to be that it was not on par with Jackass Number Two. The same can be said for Jackass 3.5 when compared to its counterpart, but I can’t imagine any long time fan of the series being very disappointed with the release.

 Jackass 3.5
By now chances are you already have a clear opinion of the Jackass franchise, and there isn’t much I can do to change that. It’s the sort of thing you usually love or hate. Personally I’ve been a fan of their work since the show was first becoming popular. There is a charming comradery to the cast, and even though I’d like to pretend I’m above it, a lot of their indecorous slapstick cracks me up. No matter how idiotic they get, I can’t help but admire their dedication. I strongly prefer the stunts that involve physical danger or public indecency to the ones that include vomiting and scatological humour. This release features more of the latter, though nothing quite as bad as the sweat suit cocktail from Jackass 3-D, which I still have to avert my eyes during.

The format is slightly different than their previous films. Instead of going from one stunt to the next, a lot of the footage is interspersed with interviews filmed during their European press tour. Initially it felt like these were added in to inflate the runtime to feature length, and that could very well be the case, but I found their personal input interesting and informative. They talk about the anxiety they feel on set, where it seems like everyone is out to get one another for a laugh. Some of the interview footage covers the origins of stunts and what made them think it would be a good idea. They also talk about failed bits, or stunts that involved a lot of pain but had very little pay-off. At one point Knoxville mentions Buster Keaton as an inspiration for one of his pranks, and one can’t help but draw comparisons between him and performers of old. It adds some character and dimensionality to the people behind the stunts, which is a refreshing change of pace, but at the same time it can make this movie feel like one big “behind the scenes” feature.  

 Jackass 3.5
You can see why a lot of the material in this extra feature didn’t make it into Jackass 3-D.  Some of the stunts are rather unspectacular, and there is a lot of B-side footage from segments that were already in the last movie. I would say it’s about ninety five per cent new content. There are also no big climactic stunts in Jackass 3.5, but there are plenty of small pleasures that add up to a generally satisfying experience for fans. Highlights for me included the Flaming Gauntlet, Electric Limbo, and a segment towards the end where Knoxville throws basketballs at people’s groins from a variety of distances and locations. Its certainly not high brow material, but those looking for mindless mischief won’t find a lot to complain about, and long time fans should be reasonably happy with the outcome.

Video


Since both were filmed at the same time, this release is very consistent with Jackass 3-D in the audio-visual department. The 1080p image quality varies based on the types of digital cameras they are using. For the most part the image is crisp and detail is sharp. The colours look great without appearing to be over-saturated. Bright outdoor scenes look the cleanest by far. There is some noticeable digital noise in the darker interior scenes, but that is common with most digital media and is not a fault of the Blu-ray transfer. The footage taken with the Phantom HD camera (super slow motion) looks terrific, and will make you wish they used it for more colourful and creative ideas instead of multiple stunts involving their genitalia. As expected, quality occasionally takes a huge dive when cheaper, smaller cameras are used to achieve a shot, but these are limited to a small portion of the runtime and they’re completely in line with the series’ history.

 Jackass 3.5

Audio


The Jackass franchise isn't known for technical prowess, but this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does the job well. Voices are clear and crisp, and are generally kept to the front speaker as they should be. I didn't notice much going on with the rear channels, but your sub woofer will get some attention during the more explosive stunts or when the soundtrack takes the foreground. Some of the collision noises are especially punchy, and do not mix in with the other audio very plausibly. It is likely some of them were added in post. Sound will travel between channels occasionally when the stunts include projectiles, or if a cast member launches themselves a long distance. Music is clear and is appropriately adjusted in volume to make room for dialogue and other sounds. You couldn’t ask for more from this audio track given the content at hand.

Extras


Given that this release is technically a giant extra feature of deleted footage, you would probably expect the extras on it to be even more derivative. Such is the case with the deleted scenes and outtakes, which failed to amuse me but should delight hardcore fans that just can’t get enough of this stuff. There is, however, an interesting and entertaining retrospective piece. All of the special features include subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

 Jackass 3.5
Jackass: The Beginning (40:46, HD): While this feature is technically presented in 1080p, it looks like all of the footage in it was shot in standard definition. This is a look at the early days of Jackass and how it got its start, as well as some behind the scenes footage from their oldest sketches. After watching a feature film with studio backing, it was interesting to go back and watch their guerilla filming tactics. They didn’t have a large dedicated cast or a lot of income, just people like Johnny Knoxville and Ryan Dunn who were willing to do ridiculous things on camera. There are also some stunts that went wrong. Johnny Knoxville has had guns pointed at him by police multiple times. Another portion shows a particularly rough encounter that Chris Pontius has with a stranger while wearing his devil outfit. For fans of the franchise, this is an insightful behind the scenes feature that shouldn’t disappoint.

Deleted Scenes (16:37, HD): Here we have eleven deleted scenes that didn’t make the cut of a movie made up of footage that didn’t make the cut of a movie. You would assume they’d be pretty weak, and for the most part you’d be correct. Most of them retread material from either Jackass 3 or 3.5, and a couple of failed bits. The only highlight for me was seeing a new “Bad Dad” bit where Dave England straps a baby doll to his chest and gets into skiing accidents, with amusing reactions from bystanders.

Outtakes (19:50, HD): The only thing separating this from the deleted scenes is the length of each bit. These are much smaller segments and alternative footage from the stunts in the feature film. There isn’t anything particularly memorable, but if you want more of the same here it is.

European Tour (6:27, HD): This feature is comprised of footage from their European tour, which they were on when they filmed the opening credits and interview segments for 3.5. Not much noteworthy content here, but it is a painless watch.  

 Jackass 3.5

Overall


It is not too hard to see why a lot of the footage in Jackass 3.5 didn’t make it into the original film, but for fans of the series this is still an amusing way to kill 84 minutes. I would recommend a rental for the more casual fans. The interview style used to divide up segments is a welcome change that I wouldn’t mind seeing in a future Jackass feature film. This is not the kind of material that demands high quality audio and video, but Paramount does a terrific job with both. There is also a fairly satisfying amount of extras for those who can’t get enough additional footage.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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