Audiences, hopefully, will realise just how lucky they are to receive the Jackass troupe on a straight-to-streaming platform. Such luck would not be blessed to those who, just a few years ago, would have to hunt down battered DVD copies of the glorious run of MTV originals. The return of Johnny Knoxville and his gang of self-flogging brutalists was a warm firework of nostalgia, shooting off into the darkness and lighting up what could be a very dim year for feature filmmaking. No matter, because it would appear Jackass Forever director Jeff Tremaine had realised the lull in quality, and subsequently crafted a follow-up, almost immediately, with Jackass 4.5. Blessed. Truly, truly blessed.
But hold the horses there, or delay the beach party, as the opening of Jackass 4.5 shows this gang of veterans and newcomers surfing around and having a good time behind the scenes, because Jackass 4.5 is just that. Behind the scenes with the oddball bits and pieces not good enough for cinematic, big-screen consumption. This is no new styling to the Jackass franchise. The .5 series has always been the leftover bits. Interviews, scenes that were just as dangerous, if not more so, than the feature release, but for one reason or another not deemed worthy of inclusion. It is clear to see why that would be the case here. Jackass Forever was the grand reunion of old classics and newcomers proving themselves. The fun was from the falls and fearlessness, which is still there in Jackass 4.5, but presented more as bonding exercises between the group.
Less is more, then. Jackass 4.5 is for the intense fan, the individual that cannot go anywhere without the consumption of every scene depicting Knoxville or Steve-O being beaten up or knocked down. Everyone sitting around talking about how the rebirth of Jackass was a genuine surprise is mixed in with behind-the-scenes, documentary footage. It is fine. But it isn’t Jackass proper. The .5 spin-offs never truly are. Although having said that, the set-up to some of the finest stunts and the most entertaining of moments are tremendously interesting. More background on the newcomers to the series and their stunts before and during Jackass and what the old school band think of them. Nice details to flesh out the clear friendship between this group, but nothing that will add to Jackass Forever.
Does it need to add to Jackass Forever? No. Netflix is home to many easy-going features that will tick the clock over an hour or two. Jackass 4.5 is a thoroughly enjoyable time killer. .5 is always the grosser stuff, the bits and pieces that are just deranged and full of poop, sick and degeneracy. As if Jackass Forever didn’t have enough of that. Jackass 4.5 is for the individual that prefers to see hot sauce poured into anuses, those that hope to see how a penis can be trapped between two sheets of plastic and flattened completely. For the sickos out there, Jackass 4.5 will work disgusting wonders, but those wanting another fix of Jackass Forever would be wise to stick with this Netflix exclusive for as long as their stomach will handle.