Jackass Forever (2022) Review
THE early to mid-2000's were defined by the insane antics of Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew. Their lunacy caused the gang to burst in popularity courtesy of their self-titled MTV show Jackass, however, their sudden fame came with a heavy price: their health. Despite bringing amusement to fans across the world for than 20 years, Knoxville and company have (finally) decided to hang up their boots and wrap up the franchise in one last blaze of glory.
Jackass Forever reunites the Jackass crew for one, final run at injuring and demeaning themselves for the world. Alongside veterans such as Johnny Knoxville, Preston Lacy and Steve-O, newcomers Rachel Wolfson, Sean McInerney, and a plethora of A-list celebrities have decided to tag along for the gang's final crusade.
The franchise's formula isn't exactly a complicated or profound one, but considering its 22-year longevity, it's hard to deny that the blueprint needs tinkering--especially considering that the writers continues to craft new, inventive stunts for the crew to tackle. Majority of the stunts performed are completely new for the franchise, with the best of the best including The Cup Test, Musical Chair Bags, and Electric Tap Dance. Each stunt pushes the boundaries of health and acceptability considering the cast's ages nowadays, and it's incredibly interesting to see how far the crew has progressed, commencing their journey by having Knoxville getting launched out of a circus cannon into a net, to him paying homage to their premiere stunt by getting launched once again; this time without the net. Despite most of the antics being absolute hits, select few felt incredibly staged and unauthentic due to mediocre involvement from "civilians", and while the Jackass contingent is always adamant about not directly involving actual civilians, their pre-planned involvement significantly brought down what could've been a memorable stunt.
One of the many reasons Jackass 3D, as well as this film, received such critical acclaim was due to its surprisingly-impressive production and set design. The opening title sequence immediately showcases director Jeff Tremaine's vision for what a Jackass film should be: ludicrous, over-the-top, and above all, crude. By utilising the entire cast and differing shots, the beginning of Jackass Forever proved to be one of the best parts of what was undoubtedly going to be an entertaining 90-minute romp. However, what came next was completely unforeseen and took the franchise in a somber, honest direction.
During the film's final stunt, The Magic Trick, Johnny Knoxville is given the dubious task of performing a magic trick whilst running from a bull. However, this stunt goes horrifically wrong as Knoxville is left unconscious, resulting in a trip to the hospital where it's revealed he has suffered severe brain damage. This diagnosis visibly leaves Knoxville shaken and scared, and considering the man is nearly 50 years old, his fear is more than warranted. During my first viewing, this threw me off as I felt the ending came out of nowhere, however the more I thought about it, I realised that the ending was handled excellently. By ending the film prematurely, it brought about the very real warning given at the beginning of the films: do not attempt any stunts shown. This stunt gives the crew a moment of realisation as they unanimously decide to end the film, giving more emotional weight to not only their personal health, but the stunts which were previously seen throughout this humanising affair--especially after the tribute given to Ryan Dunn post-credits.
Jackass Forever may be the final film for the crew, but it personally stands as the best feature the franchise has seen. By introducing new, younger cast members to interact alongside the long-standing veterans, it created a charming dynamic which was maintained throughout the entire runtime. On top of entertaining stunts and actually giving emotional weight to many of the antics performed, Jackass Forever proved to be a fitting end to the gang's more than 20-year ride.