Theatrical Review: Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D

For two seasons, extreme sports superstar Travis Pastrana and his tightly-knit group of friends (all extreme sports stars in their own right) had an extremely entertaining show on MTV called Nitro Circus in which they would perform all sorts of truly amazing stunts. Essentially, the show sort of followed in the same style as MTV’s Jackass but with one major difference that’s perfectly outlined by Jackass star and creator Johnny Knoxville during the course of this movie. Knoxville says that at it’s core, the Jackass stunts are sort of designed to fail with the humor coming out of that, but with the Nitro Circus, those stunts are designed to succeed and true failure there just isn’t a funny thing. While precautions were certainly taken on both shows, it really was way more of a matter between life and death when it came to the Nitro Circus.

I really enjoyed the TV show; I was almost always guaranteed to see something really amazing on it and I’ve just been waiting to see if there was ever going to be a third season. Well, the third season obviously didn’t happen but what did was this movie; Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D and It’s a very entertaining ride.

While there’s no story per se here, it is set against a backdrop of telling an overall story about this group of people, why they do what they do and their dream to take what they do and make it a live show that they perform in Las Vegas. Some of the stunts performed in the movie have also been done on the TV show, but here they have a little bit more of a production budget and the added bonus of 3D. And here, 3D is really an added bonus and it’s right on display during the opening stunts of the film. This stunt is a massive recreation of one of the greatest stunts from the TV show, involving motocross cycles, trophy trucks and buggies (and I’m sure I’m missing something else) all jumping over each other in a criss-crossing pattern, with each of the bike riders all performing stunts as they take to the air. It’s a dazzling display of talent and the 3D just really makes it even more impressive, making you feel more like being there than anything else. Now none of the other stunts that follow in the film are as impressive as it’s opening, but they’re still fun to watch nonetheless. There is humor in the film as well, but don’t go expecting the same variety that you’ll see in a Jackass movie- most of the humor comes from the interview situations and narration through the film.

Travis Pastrana is certainly the most recognized name amongst the crew of the Nitro Circus, but this isn’t the Travis Pastrana show by any means. The main core of the Circus includes Jolene Van Vugt, Jeremy Rawle, Gregg Godfrey, “Streetbike” Tommy Passamante, Erik Roner, Jim DeChamp and Greg Powell. Everybody gets a chance to shine, though “Streetbike” Tommy gets just a little more play than the rest of the group, sort of acting as their comic relief- if there can be such a thing here. You can tell that this group of folks genuinely enjoy what they’re doing and genuinely enjoy doing it with each other.

If you were a fan of the show, then you’ll probably have a great time with Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D, I know I did and just sort of look at as a bit of a palette cleanser amongst the other movies out there right now. It packs quite a lot into it’s short 90 minutes run time and doesn’t wear out it’s welcome in the slightest, and as I said above, the 3D here is just incredible.

By Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

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