Review of Nitro Circus: The Movie


Movie Review: "Nitro Circus The Movie 3D"

-- Rating: PG-13
Length: 92 minutes
Release Date: August 8, 2012
Directed by: Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle
Genre: Documentary, Comedy

Watching "Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D" is like watching an extended version of the television show "Jackass," if the men on the show actually knew what they were doing. Nitro Circus is a group of men and women who travel to different parts of the world, doing extreme sports and stunts along the way. The group became so popular that the members earned a television show, tour, and now a movie.

The group consists of Travis Pastrana, a self-proclaimed "pro action sports athlete," Andy Bell, Jolene Van Vugt, Jim DeChamp, Erik Roner, Tommy Passemante, and Greg Powell. Each of the main stars appears in the movie, but the film also introduces background characters and new extreme sport lovers. Many of the people in the group have special skills that set them apart from the pack, and each of the main players gets the chance to shine in the film.

The film shoots a wink in the eye of "Jackass" fans by showing the leader of that group on screen. Johnny Knoxville appears in one scene, showing his excitement for Nitro Circus. The film also manages to squeeze in Channing Tatum, who gives a cameo explaining why he loves the group. Those small moments might detract from the overall watching experience because they take viewers out of the film. The movie-going public wants to lose themselves in a movie, and films like this, which pats itself on the back, have a tendency of turning off viewers.

Once the action starts, it's easy to forget about those early scenes. The problem is that the action is going slow. While the group members frequently discuss doing their own stunts, they all seem like a stereotype. Van Vugt climbs onto a tricycle for one scene and spends the rest of the movie talking about her tough side. Those who want to see a woman doing something spectacular might be disappointed. For much of the movie, Van Vugt is merely a background character, standing around in a bikini and rooting for the guys like a high school cheerleader.

Fans who go into this movie want to see some amazing action scenes, but many of those scenes never develop. Directors Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle have experience shooting action scenes because both worked on Supercross and Motorcross films in the past. The problem is not with the directors but with the stars. Directors can only do so much, and they can only shoot what the stars give them. "Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D" seems like the brainchild of the Nitro Circus group. Watching the movie, viewers can almost imagine the men deciding to shoot a movie impulsively without proper planning.

The film claims that it shows the audience a behind-the-scenes view of the Nitro Circus gang, and it actually accomplishes that a few times. Once the group decides to rehearse for an upcoming performance in Las Vegas, the movie starts losing steam. There are only so many times that viewers can watch people rehearsing the same stunt, and this film goes far beyond that point. A large portion of the film shows the group setting up a ramp by the lake and practicing the same stunt more times than necessary.

While some might claim that this film is only for fans of Nitro Circus, it does have a few things going for it. When the group members finally do perform a few stunts, it's easy to see them for the athletes they are. Roner can handle a pair of skis as well as any professional skier, while DeChamp has professional-level skills on a mountain bike. The same can be said of Passemante or Powell who function mainly as background characters and comic relief. Every time either of them takes part in a stunt, viewers might close their eyes and pray that they get through it safely.

Watching the group perform on the big screen is completely different from watching it at home on a television. The directors shot the movie in 3D, which lets the viewer get an up-close look at some of the top stunts. The stunts seem almost impossible, and the 3D footage shows the true danger of those stunts. The film also does a believable job of showing the emotions that pass through the minds of Pastrana and his crew. The men actually shake, and the fear is evident on their faces. By the time, they finally perform the stunt, the viewer will feel like he or she went on a roller-coaster ride with the person.

While "Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D" isn't the best movie of the year, it has some strong action scenes and great imagery that will keep fans and non-fans entertained.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars