Combustible Celluloid
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With: Travis Pastrana, Jolene Van Vugt, Jeremy Rawle, Gregg Godfrey, Tommy Passemante, Erik Roner, Jim DeChamp, Greg Powell
Written by: Gregg Godfrey, Jeremy Rawle, Travis Pastrana
Directed by: Gregg Godfrey, Jeremy Rawle
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for depiction of extreme and dangerous stunts throughout, and for language
Running Time: 80
Date: 08/08/2012

Nitro Circus: The Movie (2012)

1 Star (out of 4)

Might As Well Jump

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by two of the Nitro Circus team members, Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle, Nitro Circus: The Movie starts out with opposing tones: Pastrana earnestly tries to explain the significance of his group, claiming that they are not deterred by the impossible. Then, in the next moment, they introduce the group members, teasing and ridiculing them. 

X Games motorsports competitor Travis Pastrana teams up with his old buddies, dubbed the "Nitro Circus," to perform numerous dangerous stunts and prepare for an upcoming live show in Las Vegas. Stunts include leaping a bicycle between two 40-story buildings, trying to crash and flip a race car more than seven times, and being pulled up a ramp and into a lake by a motorcycle engine. Some stunts succeed, others fail, and many are injured. The movie culminates with a few minutes of footage from the Vegas show. For some reason, Channing Tatum is interviewed. And it's all in 3D.

As the movie goes, the group members tease one another constantly, and it's difficult for newcomers to get to know them, or care much about them. The stunts are mostly effective when they go wrong, coaxing feelings of empathy for pain and human suffering. But otherwise, they're not particularly thrilling. (Perhaps the live show would be more exciting than the movie.) Comparisons to the Jackass series are obvious, especially when Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine appear here. Though not exactly brilliant, the Jackass stunts are at least outrageous and disgusting, eliciting much stronger reactions. Nitro Circus is equally dumb, but much duller.
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