REVIEW: Jackass 4.5

 After a passing of ten years from Jackass 3D, the gang returned with Jackass Forever.  The film hit theatres in the beginning of February of this year, and made $80 million on a budget of only $10 million.  Following it up is Jackass 4.5, a behind the scenes look at the filming of the movie, which recently dropped on Netflix.

I quite enjoyed Jackass Forever, a sign that even in my forties there is still a place for juvenile behaviour in my heart.  The stunts that they do are stupid and dangerous, but I honestly cannot help but laugh.  You may see that as a failing of my character, but what makes me giggle is what makes me giggle and I can't deny that.

Perhaps the interest in the Jackass franchise for me isn't as much the incredibly dumb things that they do, but more-so the camaraderie of the cast.  Jackass Forever saw almost all of the people from the original series and movies return, as well as a number of new faces.  While they seem to hate each other during some of the pranks, there is always laughter and love for one another afterwards.  A lot of people have used the internet to do dumb stunts (some ending in death), but what Jackass has is a bunch of loveable idiots that are fun to spend some time with.

In Jackass 4.5, there are interviews with all of the main offenders, including director Jeff Tremaine and producer Spike Jonze (yes, the Oscar winning Spike Jonze).  In the interviews we see just how much these folk enjoy collaborating with each other, and how they appreciated getting back together after a decade hiatus.  There isn't necessarily a great deal of technical insight that fans of directors commentaries may want, but there is enough to satisfy people like myself. It is able to answer questions such as why Johnny Knoxville had dark hair in some scenes and grey hair in others (the reason being having to suspend production due to Covid).

The main attraction is that we get to see a lot of stunts that did not make it into the movie.  While I definitely feel like they picked the right ones to make it to the final cut, I found that almost all of the excluded ones that were shown in Jackass 4.5 were still entertaining.  Most enjoyable is a prank they played on Dark Shark, the father of one of the cast.  A very tough man, who had been a gang member when he was younger and shot a total of nine times, Dark Shark has intense fears of things like flying.  One would think that Knoxville and the rest would be weary of really messing with this man, but that's not the case.  They torment Dark Shark just like they do everyone else.

We also see just how nobody on set is safe.  Gags will be played on absolutely everyone, from the director to the camera operators.  What this shows is an incredible community spirit, and portrays the production as a family of people who did this project because they enjoy it.

The most interesting part of this documentary for me was learning about what ended up being the opening sequence for the movie.  Originally, it started out being just a bit for the film, but it kept growing and expanding, swelling the budget as they kept going all in.  It ended up with explosions, and the use of some of the titans of Hollywood's special effect community.

For those who find Jackass stupid, this will do nothing at all to convince you otherwise.  The end product is not as good as Jackass Forever, but that isn't the point.  It is for fans who want to see more about how these unspeakably idiotic and loveable fools that created the film.  It was enough for me, and a reminder that I hold a love for this group of characters and will probably end up watching another movie should they decide to make one.

Rating - 3 out of 4 stars