Jackass Forever Review - Like Reuniting With Your Irresponsible High School Friends

The Jackass crew is back and they're inflicting as much pain on each other as usual--and it's exactly what we need.

It's been over a decade since the last Jackass movie, Jackass 3D, hit theaters. Now the gang is older and somewhat wiser, but it's still up to the same sort of shenanigans that made them famous on MTV back when the TV series premiered in 2000. Jackass Forever hits differently, though. After all, we're all adults now.

Jackass Forever reunites the majority of the show's cast--Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man, Chris Pontius, and the rest of the gang. The notable exception, of course, is Bam Margera, who was fired from the production. And, as expected, they're still putting their bodies through the absolute worst stunts and pranks a human mind could think of all for the entertainment of those sitting down to watch.

Seeing these men who are all around 50 years old doing things like being gored by bulls and having their genitals covered in bees (both happen in this movie) is a lot scarier than it was when the Jackass gang was all in their twenties. The "rub some dirt in it and keep going" mentality of the injuries they used to receive regularly doesn't work anymore. Now, there are visits to the hospital, concussion concerns, and casts on various cast members throughout production. Granted, none of them were impervious to pain before, but this movie it the first time it's emphasized just how dangerous what they're going is–complete with one member of the group being rushed to the hospital after taking a hard hit.

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And yet, just like reconnecting with old friends at a high school reunion, you can't help but have a smile on your face as you wince through their pain the entire time They're all having the time of their lives, while also acknowledging, much like Danny Glover's Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon franchise, that they're all getting too old for this shit.

That's where the next generation of Jackass comes in. This film introduces five new cast members that could, in theory, carry the torch when the original cast is ready to call it quits (if that ever happens). Thankfully, the new additions fit in well, with their willingness to put their bodies on the line for a good stunt and keen sense of how to make doing so fun and funny. Additionally, the new additions also add some much-needed diversity to the previously all-white male cast--including the introduction of the first female Jackass.

The newbies include comedian Rachel Wolfson, Odd Future member Jasper Dolphin, stunt performer Zach Holmes, actor Eric Manaka, and a man you will come to love known only as Poopies. Throughout the film, the new gang is put through the same trials and tribulations as the veterans, and sometimes wind up in even more painful situations. Poopies, Jasper, and Zach, in particular, are heavily used throughout the film. In fact, it could be argued that nobody goes through more physical pain in Jackass Forever than Zach Holmes, who seems to have gone from superfan of the group to full-fledged member.

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If there's anywhere the movie falters, it's not finding enough for Wolfson and Manaka to do. Compared to the other three new additions, they feel underused. That's unfortunate, especially given how game they seem to be when it comes to the stunts. If you've seen the posters for the film, you know Wolfson licks a taser with a smile on her face, which goes to show how willing the new class is to play along. Hopefully, there's more footage of Wolfson and Manaka that was cut from the film and will ultimately be released as an extended version of the movie--something that's been commonplace for the Jackass franchise.

Still, the introduction of the new class--who are almost always present, even for the stunts they aren't partaking in--adds a level of innocence to the film that is welcome. For the veterans, doing these horrible things to make each other laugh is old hat, but it's still new to them and they're loving it just as much as anyone else, if not more.

And, truthfully, that's what makes Jackass Forever, along with the rest of the films in the franchise, so entertaining. Even in the moments where the performers are genuinely terrified of what's about to unfold, they are genuinely excited to be making a new movie together. Many of us have grown up with these characters, and it's refreshing to see them still having the same kind of fun--and exhibiting the same type of humor--they were 20 years ago. This time, though, they have kids that are as irresponsible as they are, and you get to watch them all jump off of things together.

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Realistically, this could be the last film for the original Jackass gang, including longtime players like Dave England, Danger Ehren, and Preston Lacy. If this is their final bow, it's a pretty nice way to wrap things up, complete with nods back to the first movie that came out in 2002--and even an updated version of a stunt from Season 1 of the TV series.

That said, here's hoping there is a future for the franchise. It might rely more heavily on the newer Jackasses with the likes of Knoxville and Steve-O taking on ringleader roles more than anything else, but that's not a bad thing. At the end of the day, the Jackass franchise is comfort food for a generation that grew up with the signature guitar riff of the show's theme song playing endlessly in their heads. Jackass Forever may look a bit different and be a bit older, but it still scratches that same itch it's been scratching for over 20 years--and it's still just as comforting now as it ever was.

The Good

  • Truly terrifying stunts
  • The veteran Jackasses are still going strong
  • The exact same kind of humor that's always been on display
  • The introduction of the newbies brings new life to the franchise

The Bad

  • Two of the newbies should have been used more

About the Author

Chris E. Hayner is entertainment editor at GameSpot. He loves all movies, but especially Jaws and Paddington 2. Chris attended an early screening of Jackass Forever provided by Paramount.