I didn’t really know what a Nitro Circus was until I saw the promos for this flick. It sounds really dangerous, but despite being produced by the Jackass guys, this is something far more palatable for weaker stomachs. As ringleader Travis Pastrana puts it, Jackass stunts are designed to fail, Nitro Circus stunts are designed to succeed, so the stakes are a bit higher while the cringe-worthiness of the stunts is significantly lower. Still, how exciting is it to see people jump off ramps over and over again? Only about 91 minutes worth.
If Nitro Circus: The Movie feels like an extended episode of a TV series, that’s primarily because it is. Based on the titular show, we watch the titular crew as they jet ski up and over ramps, big wheel up and over ramps, bicycle up and over ramps, or even run a semi up and over a ramp. At one point, they even have a large wooden loop that their wheelchair-bound stuntman bails out of. The concept is dry, but you’re not here for the spectacle of the stunts, you’re here for the danger. Snaking through all of these daring stunts is the build up to the crew’s first live show in Vegas, which they fret won’t sell out. Nitro Circus has only slowly built their fan base over the years and maybe if I’d been following along, there would be some touchy-feely moment, but when all of the footage indicates they sold out and them some, it makes their narrative look a little cheesy. The trailers’ much-vaunted leap between two seemingly abandoned high rises is a little less exciting when you realize the leap is only about fifteen feet in a downward direction. Still, there are plenty of fun spills and crashes to make it worth a watch. Just, I don’t know, mix it up a bit more next time, Nitro Circus?