Nitro Circus: The Movie is a DVD released today and something that is very difficult to explain. Anyone who is in touch with the Xtreme Sports culture, dating back to the 90’s when “extreme” began with an X, is probably already familiar with the Nitro Circus. The contemporary stunt show is populated with well known Xtreme athletes, including X-games household name and Nitro Circus poster boy Travis Pastrana. Nitro Circus also had a TV show that people familiar with this niche type of entertainment have no doubt seen before.
For people unfamiliar with the kind of things done in Nitro Circus: The Movie, no words are going to impart a full understanding. The members of Nitro Circus use objects with wheels and/or motors to do very dangerous things. The type of entertainment is very spiritually close to Jackass, except that the Nitro Circus team have the requisite skills to make the stunts work, sometimes. In fact, many of the Jackass cast and crew make some kind of appearance in the film, including an interview with Jackass front man Johnny Knoxville about the Nitro Circus.
The frame story of Nitro Circus: The Movie that’s supposed to separate it from any other video that the team records is that it plays itself up to be a documentary, following the Nitro Circus on its way to its first live show in Vegas. This documentary structure is thin and the movie seems to care about it even less than the audience will. After a brief introduction this movie is nothing but a solid hour or so of stunts with 15 second blocks of bad acting to set up each new feat.
The stunts featured range from grinding a rail with a car to being pulled down a giant slip in slide ramp by a motorcycle mounted on a boat. Long jumps are made between skyscrapers on a modified big wheel. There is a lot of flipping cars, property damage and severe injury. If it involves wheels and stupidity, it’s featured.
Nitro Circus: The Movie doesn’t reveal anything more about the cast than what could already be expected from professional stunt men. There is a little human interest weight given to one member of the team who was born with spina bifida and uses his wheelchair as his tool for stunts. But even he is just briefly mentioned and then shown doing said stunts. If you want to see dangerous things going fast and flipping, this movie delivers. If you want literally anything else, then you and Nitro Circus: The Movie will share a fundamental misunderstanding for its entire run time.
The DVD boasts some extra features, but none of them are special enough to be a selling point. The deleted scenes feature more stunts that are so similar to the stunts that are actually in the movie that leaving the deleted ones out makes little sense. There’s also an interview with other Jackathlete Steve-O which was cut for time with good reason. The DVD, like the movie itself, is solely for the very dangerous stunts.
This may seem like the point in the review where I’d recommend Nitro Circus: The Movie only to hard core fans. But, the movie condenses the Nitro Circus experience so well that, if vague references to cars flipping over piqued your interest, this DVD may be the best introduction possible to what this Xtreme culture is all about. Just don’t buy it if you want intellectual stimulation.