J.D. Lafrance
Wildboyz: Seasons 3 & 4: Unrated DVD Review

Wildboyz: Seasons 3 & 4: Unrated

September 29, 2006

Director: Jeff Tremaine,
Starring: Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Manny Puig, Johnny Knoxville, Wee-Man, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

With the recent death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, Wildboyz, with its irreverent, childish humour, just doesn’t seem as funny anymore. Not to mention the show’s concept – Jackass meets Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom – seems, well, played out. Perhaps sensing this, the third and fourth seasons spend as much time examining a country’s culture as much as its animals.

In one episode, Chris Pontius and Steve-O travel to India where they spot a deadly Bengal tiger. Steve-O stupidly jumps into the nasty Ganges River and Chris gets his upper torso adorned with body art in an amusing, homoerotic moment (there are more in these two seasons than ever before). The boys also participate in a Bollywood dance number but if fans thought that they were going soft, fear not, because they still find time to fling elephant poop at each other and get bitten by rats.

The boys visit Kenya with fellow Jackass alumni Wee-Man along for the ride. They try their hand at skateboarding the Savannahs and inevitably perform stunts that land them in big piles of, you guessed it, elephant poop. Do you sense a reoccurring theme, here? What makes the show work is that each episode really attempts to open a window (albeit a grotesque one) on a culture radically different from our own. So, we get to see Chris and Steve-O participate in all kinds of traditional rituals practiced by primitive tribes. It doesn’t hurt that many of the rituals the two of them are subjected to fit in with the Jackass-style of gross-out humour. Are they trying to say that the Jackass tradition is as old as human culture itself? Probably not – that would be way too sophisticated for this show.

The personalities of Steve-O and, to a larger degree, Chris also account for a large part of the show’s appeal. Although, in season three, Steve-O becomes more of a spoil-sport, exhibiting almost diva-like behaviour so that he comes across, at times, like a big whiner. He’s okay so long as the joke is not at his expense. Chris, in comparison, is much more easy-going and looks like he’s always having fun, like a big kid getting to play with all kinds of wild animals. He seems willing to try anything and isn’t a complainer like his partner. Their pal Manny Puig appears frequently, displaying a lot of guts… or stupidity as in one episode he sneaks up on a lion and grabs its tail!

In the Kenya episode, Chris and Steve-O actually get in real danger, teasing a bunch of lions by being suspended above them in a hammock covered in raw meat. One lion snags the hammock sending our guys crashing to the ground and right in the middle of these hungry animals. Fortunately, they get away unscathed but the expressions on their faces conveys real fear.

In season four, the boys hook up with Johnny Knoxville in Argentina where he rides a large Patagonia pig. They all try and learn how to break a wild horse which results in Knoxville getting trampled by one and Steve-O getting his balls stomped by another. All in days work, eh? As always, Knoxville brings the same kind of giddy enthusiasm to the show as Chris and looks like he’s having a blast, free from the constraints of the recent Hollywood schlock he’s been appearing in lately. He also gets to interact with the animals as a llama spits in his mouth.

Chris and Steve-O hook up with Knoxville again in Russia where Steve-O “performs” with the famous Russian Ballet in a tutu. Then, he, Chris and Loomis Fall take on the Russian hockey team and get their asses kicked in terms of score, game play and sheer physicality. From there, Chris and Steve-O mix it up with the Moscow Circus where Steve-O’s past occupation as a circus clown comes in handy. However, the highlight comes from the moment where they all train to become Russian Cosmonauts, including a trip in the “Vomit Comet,” a plane that simulates the weightlessness of space for a few minutes.

The DVD advertises itself as “Unrated” and while the language is indeed not bleeped, nudity is still censored.

Special Features:

The first disc features commentaries for all the episodes in season three by Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Manny Puig, Johnny Knoxville, Wee-Man, Loomis Fall and co-creators/producers Jeff Tremaine and Dimitry Elyashkevich. These typically rowdy tracks feature everyone fighting to get a word in edge-wise while also making fun of Steve-O at every opportunity. On one track, Chris speaks only in a WWF wrestler voice which is kinda funny at first but gets tiresome as the episode wears on. Everyone cracks a lot of jokes and recounts anecdotes of filming a given sequence with Steve-O defending his grumpy on-screen behaviour by explaining that we had been on the road for too long.

The second disc features commentaries by the same participants for all the episodes in season four. Manny Puig chimes in on the Argentina track and talks about how much more he’s recognized since being on the show. Apparently, the manager of the Boca Jrs. soccer team wasn’t too crazy about their segment but the players had fun just messing around with Chris and Steve-O. Knoxville sits in on the Russia episodes helping deliver one of the more spirited tracks as all the “creative” camerawork during the ballet sequence is pointed out. They also make fun of Chris’ “cat-like reflexes” during the hockey sequence.

The third disc features “Outtakes,” footage of Chris and Steve-O goofing around between “takes.” There is also nasty footage of a skateboarder seriously injuring himself during the ape suit half pipe sequence. Also included is funny footage of animals being their usual unpredictable selves.

“Bonus Segments” feature footage that didn’t make the cut, including Chris and Steve-O getting wasted with some drunk Russians on very potent alcohol that is quite funny to watch. Also included are more animal hijinks, like Steve-O getting bitten by a parrot in Mexico and so on.

“Wildboyz: Over and Out” is a behind-the-scenes featurette. Director Jeff Tremaine mentions that with season three, they wanted to pick places based on their culture and not necessarily for their animals. Chris, Steve-O and Knoxville all say that Russia was their favourite country to visit. Everyone tells anecdotes about what they feel are the most memorable moments that, surprisingly, doesn’t repeat much of what is said on the commentaries.

“Top 10 Wildboyz Moments” features Steve-O, Chris, Manny, Knoxville and Wee-Man pick their favourite moments from the past two seasons.

“Photo Gallery” includes pictures from the last two seasons.

Finally, there is “Nintendo DS Ad – Behind the Scenes” which takes a look at Steve-O and Chris shooting an ad for Nintendo’s latest gaming system. We see them messing around before hand, killing time until the actual ad is shot.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 83%



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