A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D is a big-screen version of MTV's Travis Pastrana and his band of crazy stuntmen doing their usual dangerous, over-the-top stuff. Expect tons of wild stunts -- mostly involving sending various vehicles up and over ramps -- as well as lots of crashes and injuries; one character survives a horrible car crash and goes to the hospital. Language is fairly strong; "f--k" is bleeped, and "s--t" is sometimes, too, but not always. The team's lone female member is seen posing for sexy pictures while wearing a revealing leather outfit. There's also heavy product placement, as several sports drinks are corporate sponsors. These guys have many young fans who will be clamoring to see this movie and, despite a warning at the beginning about not trying this stuff at home, possibly eager to try similar stunts themselves. So beware.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
X Games motorsports competitor Travis Pastrana teams up with his old buddies, dubbed the "Nitro Circus," to perform many dangerous stunts and prepare for live show in Las Vegas. Stunts include leaping a bicycle between two 40-story buildings, trying to crash and flip a race car more than seven times, and being pulled up a ramp and into a lake by a motorcycle engine. Some stunts succeed, others fail, and many performers are injured. The movie culminates with a few minutes of footage from the Vegas show.
Is it any good?
Directed by two Nitro Circus team members, Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle, the movie's a bit confusing at the outset because of opposing tones. Pastrana earnestly tries to explain the significance of his group, claiming that they aren't deterred by the impossible. Then, in the next moment, the group members are introduced, accompanied by teasing and ridicule. As the movie unspools, the group members tease one another constantly, and it's difficult for newcomers to get to know them -- or care much about them.
The stunts are mostly effective when they go wrong, coaxing feelings of empathy for pain and human suffering. But otherwise, they're not particularly thrilling. Comparisons to the Jackass series are obvious, especially when Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine make appearances. Though not brilliant, the Jackass stunts are at least outrageous and disgusting, eliciting much stronger reactions. NITRO CIRCUS: THE MOVIE is equally dumb, and much duller to boot.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stunts. Movies like Nitro Circus highlight stunts that -- unlike those in blockbuster action films -- seem to involve neither planning nor safety. Which looks more exciting? Why? Which seem more "real" or more dangerous? Why do you think people choose to perform these kinds of stunts?
How does the impact of this kind of violence compare to that of action and horror movies? Are stunts more fun to watch if have more potential danger? Why?
Why do these kinds of performers become so famous? What message does that send to kids?
Why do the performers spend so much time teasing and ridiculing one another? Do they come across as real friends?
- In theaters: August 8, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: November 13, 2012
- Cast: Jolene Van Vugt, Tommy Passemante, Travis Pastrana
- Directors: Gregg Godfrey, Jeremy Rawle
- Studio: ARC Entertainment
- Genre: Documentary
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: depiction of extreme and dangerous stunts throughout, and for language
- Last updated: February 7, 2020
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