For a few years now I’ve been wondering whether to include ‘Jackass: The Movie‘ or not. Is it really a movie? Well, it does have the word in the title and was released in cinemas so I guess it will have to be reviewed here. It’s not at all that I have totally run out of films to cover in this ‘set’ in Japan series!!
There’s a tendency in these reviews to say films are of their time but that’s usually because they were set in 1950s Tokyo or whenever. Although less than two decades old, the whole crazy ‘Jackass‘ stunts seem of their time too. It may have been original and even a little groundbreaking when it came along in 2000 on MTV.
The physical comedy in what is basically a feature-length episode of the TV series is turned up to the max in this plotless collection of moronic stunts. About 13 of the film’s 85 minutes were filmed in Japan which just about merits inclusion in this long running Tokyo Fox feature. It’s still probably more than was in the Ron Howard-directed ‘Gung Ho‘ (1986) movie!
Warning: Contains Spoilers!
There’s basically no movie to review here as it’s just 50+ scenes which will be extremely amusing for some and just idiotic for others. About a fifth of the scenes were done in Japan so lets take a look at those ones. It takes 14 minutes before the action moves on to Tokyo beginning with one of the guys stripping down to his underpants only and dancing around to the beat of a mix CD in one of Tokyo’s big chain electric shops. Party boy pops up later as he gets his fortune told by one of those guys who sit at low street side tables.
These particular candid camera style scenes are all about the reactions of the staff and public. The Japanese are probably an easy target for such things as no-one is likely to do anything too much. Nowhere is this more exemplified than with the big cone scene where 123cm tall Wee Man hides under a giant plastic road cone and roams around some busy areas of Shibuya including Scramble Crossing and the escalators outside Mark City.
Ass Kicked by Girl comes across in the modern day as extremely sexist and disrespectful even though the late Ryan Dunn knows beforehand that he’s going to get beaten to shreds by Japanese female kick-boxer Naoko Kumagai.
Night Pandas sees six of the shows stars dress up in big mascot-like panda costumes to go around Shibuya after dusk. It starts off as quite nice as they jovially mix with the locals and do some skateboarding but when they start pushing each other over and piling on to one another in a shoe shop, a street jewellers stall and British chain bar ‘Hub’ it seems a bit over the top and disrespectful.
Maybe I’ve been in Japan too long now and no longer find this kind of thing so funny. Of course I’d be lying if I didn’t laugh a few times but it really wasn’t so often. Johnny Knoxville and Co. are absolutely in their element joyfully sacrificing their bodies for amusement whilst innocent and unsuspecting members of the Japanese public have their property damaged or are harassed by a gong suddenly being banged behind them for example.
What I do enjoy about the big gong scene is that the excellent ‘Made In Japan‘ (1973) by Buck Owens is the musical accompaniment. When I compiled a songs about Japan soundtrack over a decade ago I hadn’t seen this movie so was unaware of it. I’m a big fan of this song and even used it as a listening exercise in some adult classes once so was happy to hear it when I re-watched this film recently. The classic song used for any featurette on Japan is of course ‘Turning Japanese‘ by The Vapors which is the soundtrack during the aforementioned panda scene.
At a Japanese restaurant, Steve-O attempts to snort wasabi hot sauce and then disgustingly pukes it all up onto his plate which did actually have some sushi on it. I’m surprised he didn’t go the full hog and then eat the sick-covered sushi! Still, this scene, as well as the oddly-shaped sumo wrestlers street chase which followed, didn’t really harm or affect anyone else.
The next couple of sketches were filmed at sea in Okinawa. First up is Steve-O and Chris Pontius simulating masturbation with sea cucumbers which they’re told release white threads when startled. The pair then fill their swimming trunks with shrimp and go diving to attract whale sharks. I found neither of these scenes appealing in any way and found them pretty inhumane in the name of such cheap entertainment.
The final Japanese scene (albeit only in terms of the background) sees two of the guys basically launching fireworks out of their bum holes from on top of a Tokyo skyscraper. How far and low will these guys go? Anyone who has ever seen the Jackass movies (there was a second one) or the TV shows will know the answer is quite aptly the bottom.
Tokyo Fox Rating 5/10